Archive for Saturday, May 20, 1995

DEPUTIES SERVE WARRANT FOR FATAL MARCH ACCIDENT

May 20, 1995

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— A Kansas City, Kan., man faces an involuntary manslaughter charge for a March 29 traffic accident in which the son of former Douglas County Sheriff Rex Johnson was killed.

Robert G. Cernech, 38, was arrested Friday morning by Jefferson County sheriff's deputies on a warrant charging him with involuntary manslaughter, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, transporting an open container of alcohol, driving left of center and a seat belt violation. He faces a June 12 court appearance on the charges.

The manslaughter charge alleges Cernech killed David B. Johnson, 31, Lawrence, unintentionally while driving under the influence of alcohol.

A sheriff's department spokeswoman said deputies served the arrest warrant and took Cernech into custody shortly after he was released from the Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan. Cernech had been hospitalized at the medical center since the day of the accident.

The sheriff's spokeswoman said Cernech was booked into the Jefferson County Jail at 11:30 a.m. Friday and released at 3:10 p.m. Friday after posting a $15,000 surety bond.

A Kansas Highway Patrol report indicates the accident occurred shortly before 8 a.m. March 29 on U.S. Highway 24 about 3.6 miles east of the U.S. Highway 59 junction.

The report indicates that Johnson was driving west on U.S. 24 in a tractor-trailer truck pulling a flatbed trailer that was carrying a front-end loader. Cernech was headed east on U.S. 24 in a Plymouth minivan.

The KHP said the accident occurred when Cernech went left of center and struck Johnson's truck head-on. The front-end loader then rolled forward, broke the chains which were securing it to the trailer and rolled onto the cab of Johnson's truck.

Johnson, a driver for N.R. Hamm Quarry Inc., Perry, was pronounced dead at the scene.

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