Trial Begins for Effingham County Man Charged with 2019 Vehicular Homicide

The trial of a man with a lengthy criminal history facing charges for the death of a father on a golf cart begins Monday morning in Effingham County Superior Court.

The Georgia State Patrol arrested Donny Lee Johnson in 2020 for the October 2019 death of James “Tommy” Carter. Carter and his wife were in their Bloomingdale neighborhood on a golf cart on September 17, 2019 when Johnson struck the cart from behind. Johnson was in a pick up truck at the time. SCRT Investigators with the Georgia State Patrol alleged Johnson was under the influence at the time of the crash.

Carter’s wife was seriously injured and Tommy Carter, though transported to the hospital for care, succumbed to his injuries in the weeks that followed. 

Subsequently, Johnson was indicted on three counts of Vehicular Homicide (First Degree), Driving Under the Influence, Driving Under the Influence (Less Safe), Reckless Driving, Driving While License Suspended, and Following Too Closely.

After three and a half years of pending charges, Johnson will stand trial before a jury of his peers and Judge Michael Muldrew. Johnson previously requested a bench trial, but withdrew that request in August 2022. A trial date was set for February 2023, but was continued the day it was set to begin. Johnson has been behind bars since his arrest.

Possible Sentence

If convicted, Johnson will face a sentence of up to 15 years for the felony Homicide by Vehicle, plus one additional year for each of the misdemeanor offenses. Johnson would also receive ‘credit for time served’ in the Effingham County jail awaiting court proceedings.

Since his arrest in Effingham County in 2020, attorneys have asked for bond three times but the court has denied the request each time.

Johnson also faces a civil suit for the death of Carter.

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and a commentator on the 'Let Me Tell You Why You're Wrong Podcast.'

Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

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