Oldham County Woman Charged In Fatal Accident

Published: Aug. 16, 2006 at 3:15 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2006 at 9:23 PM EDT
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By Connie Leonard

(LOUISVILLE) -- A young woman is charged with two counts of murder in a deadly accident last month on Chamberlain Lane. On Tuesday, a grand jury indicted Rebecca A. Johnson in the deaths of Ben McIntosh and Justin Cantrell. WAVE 3 Investigator Connie Leonard has reaction from the victim's family.

Prosecutors say the two men were passengers in Johnson's car when she allegedly let alcohol and speed take over the wheel.

"She was driving at a high rate of speed, approaching a railroad crossing," said Ron Hillerich, an attorney for the victims' families. "The car was going so fast it almost became airborne."

On July 6, 2006, emergency crews were called to a gruesome scene at the intersection of Chamberlain Lane and LaGrange Road. Police say the speeding car struck a CSX pole, knocking the front of the Honda Prelude completely off.

The driver, 21-year-old Rebecca Johnson, was hospitalized with serious injuries. Her passengers, 20-year-old Justin Cantrell and 21-year-old Ben McIntosh, were killed instantly.

Johnson is charged with murder, driving while drunk and speeding.

"We are deeply in a state of mourning," said Justin's aunt, Robin Siegwald.

Siegwald says she saw news about the terrible crash on TV that morning, but had no idea it was her nephew, Justin, and his best friend, Ben.

"Justin and Ben were inseparable," Siegwald said, "Justin had tons of friends and Ben had tons of friends."

Justin's family says he was the kind of kid who could light up a room with his personality and that everybody loved Ben.

Tammy Cantrell, Justin's mom, keeps his room full of memories, from sports he loved to people and things who remind her of him. "I lost the most precious thing in my life," she said.

Justin's cousin, Kristin Cantrell, added: "Now, every single day, we think about things differently, worry about everyone."

The family says Justin and Ben knew Rebecca Johnson when they all went to school together at Oldham County High.

"It's a tragic thing when everybody involved are friends but, somebody has to accept the responsibility for this and I think it lies with the driver," said Hillerich.

That's why prosecutors have charged Johnson with murder, DUI and speeding and why the family will file a civil suit seeking monetary and punitive damages.

Justin's mom told us: "I have faith in the courts and I hope they will do the best job they can do."

Rebecca Johnson's, attorney Bart Adams, says his client is still being treated at Frazier Rehab for her injuries, and he's still investigating the case, so he couldn't comment.

Johnson will be arraigned on the charges on August 21.

Online Reporter: Connie Leonard

Online Producer: Michael Dever