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Riviera Beach police officer faces vehicular homicide charges following Father's Day crash that killed 2

Carl Johnson, 32, speeding more than 90 mph before June 18 wreck, arrest report says
Carl Johnson appeared in a Palm Beach County courtroom in a wheelchair on Sept. 1, 2023, following his arrest.
Posted at 7:01 AM, Sep 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-01 17:15:49-04

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — A Riviera Beach police officer is under arrest for vehicular homicide following a crash on Father's Day that killed two people, authorities said.

Carl Johnson, 32, was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail at about 11:45 p.m. Thursday.

According to a newly released arrest report, Johnson was speeding more than 90 mph in a marked Riviera Beach police cruiser at about 1 a.m. on June 18 when he slammed into a 2019 Hyundai Genesis G80 at Australian Avenue and West 13th Street in Riviera Beach.

The driver of the Hyundai, Danielle Bell, 43, as well as the passenger, Rodneshia Saunders, 29, died in the wreck.

Johnson was knocked out in the wreck and was taken to St. Mary's Medical Center with serious injuries.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, which took over the investigation, said Johnson was speeding southbound on Australian Avenue at almost three times the speed limit.

The police officer failed to slow down at a marked railroad crossing, and as he "traveled over the tracks the vehicle violently jarred up and down."

The Hyundai was traveling northbound on Australian Avenue, and as it made a left turn onto West 13th Street, Johnson "violently" slammed into the vehicle's right side, causing the Genesis to hit a light pole and flip over, the arrest report stated.

In-car video from Johnson's department-issued 2022 Dodge Charger showed the "high speeds" driven by the officer, the report said.

Johnson did not have his emergency lights and sirens activated, and the vehicle's data recorder showed he was driving 94 mph just five seconds before the crash.

In a written statement, the Riviera Beach Police Department said Johnson has been fired from the agency after the "incident has been determined to be criminal in nature."

Serena Spates, the public information officer for the Riviera Beach Police Department, released the following statement to WPTV on Friday about Johnson's arrest:

"Committed to maintaining the utmost standards of integrity, the Riviera Beach Police Department acknowledges the conclusion of the investigation by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office into the vehicle crash involving Officer Carl Johnson. The incident has been determined to be criminal in nature, resulting in charges against him. Dedicated to upholding the highest standards and preserving public trust, the Riviera Beach Police Department will discontinue employment with Carl Johnson. Our sympathies go out to the families impacted by this incident, and we extend our sincere condolences."

In court Friday, a judge set Johnson's bond at $100,000 and ordered him to not drive and have no contact with the families of the victims or any witnesses in the case. In addition, he had to surrender his passport.