Manslaughter charge levied for Racebrook Road fatality
ORANGE - Kenneth Johnson, 42, of Milford, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the February 9th motor vehicle death of a young woman on Racebrook Road. Johnson turned himself into authorities at 8:30 a.m. on March 22 after he learned a warrant had been isssued for his arrest by Orange Police.
"Once he knew we were looking for him, he came to the station and turned himself in," said Assistant Police Chief Joseph Dooley.
According to Dooley, Johnson, of 119 Pumpkin Hill Road in Milford, was high on drugs while operating a 1999 Ford pickup truck on Racebrook Road heading northbound near Wellington Road. Johnson crossed the center line, driving the wrong way down Racebrook Road and colliding head-on with a 1995 Toyota Tercel, driven by 18-year-old Jennifer Kiss, said police authorities. The accident occurred at 9:32 a.m.
Orange Police also charged Johnson with operating under the influence of drugs, misconduct with a motor vehicle, driving the wrong way on the highway, illegal possession of more than four ounces of marijuana, illegal possession of hashish and possession of drug paraphanelia.
Speed was not a factor in the accident, said Dooley.
Johnson was arraigned in Superior Court in Derby and released after posting bail for $100,000, said Dooley. He is scheduled to appear in court on April 5.
"The loss of this 18-year-old girl is just tragic," says Dooley. "Our thoughts go out to the girl's mother. We are glad, at least, that the responsible party has been arrested and now the court process will bear out the results."
According to police authorities, Kiss was pronounced dead at Yale-New Haven Hospital after being extricated from a mass of twisted steel by members of the Orange Volunteer Fire Department.
Dooley said it was the second worst accident he has seen in the last six months. In the Fall of 1999, a car was rear-ended on Rte. 34, seriously injuring a husband and killing the wife and brother-in-law, he said.
Kiss had only recently moved to Woodbridge, having been a lifelong resident of Milford. She was a 1999 graduate of Foran High School and active in volunteer activities, including working with preschool children and the homeless