Chatara Sophia Johnson (also listed as Shatara in some court documents) admitted to striking 68-year-old Faith Josephine Pines as she crossed the 1300 block of Southern Avenue SE in April. Pines died the following morning.
At first, Johnson told authorities someone had stolen her Mercedes Benz, the car witnesses say they saw speeding away from the scene. However, her brother-in-law called police the next day and told them Johnson was behind the wheel when the fatal incident occurred.
At Johnson’s sentencing, her lawyer asked a D.C. Superior Court judge that she be sentenced to probation, saying Johnson would “do as many hours of community service” as needed. Jacqueline Cadman told the judge that Johnson is a single mother, adding, “It’s very obvious the impact an incarceration will have on Ms. Johnson’s daughter.” Alternatively, Cadman asked that if her client received a sentence, that she be incarcerated on weekends so Johnson could still care for her daughter during the weekdays by taking her to school.
Judge Jennifer Anderson denied the request.
“I appreciate the fact that it is an accident, but you were going pretty fast,” Anderson said. Johnson previously admitted to driving between 50 and 55 mph in a 30-mph zone.
Anderson sentenced Johnson to 20 months in prison (15 months for negligent homicide of a pedestrian and five months for leaving the scene) and to pay $200 in court fees. The judge said she would consider sending Johnson to West Virginia’s Hazelton prison, which has relaxed child-visitation rules.
Pines was the first of two pedestrians killed crossing that section of Southern Avenue SE this year. Emebet Kebede was struck and killed in August, police say, by Rahveed Shamaah Comford of Ft. Washington. Comford was charged with involuntary manslaughter and will appear in D.C. Superior Court in mid-October.
Photo of Southern Avenue SE via Google Maps