‘Callousness’: Hit-and-run driver killed teen who was trying to save injured dog, cops say


A hit-and-run driver, showing “callousness and disregard for human life,” fatally struck a high school football player who was trying to save an injured dog, according to cops in Valdosta, Georgia.

Officers said in an update on Monday that they found the Dodge Charger implicated in the killing of Samuel Johnson Jr., 16, but they made no note of any suspect. Police did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment.

Police have said that Johnson was walking in the 3900 block of Inner Perimeter Road on Saturday at approximately 6:15 p.m.

“Johnson saw a dog that had been hit by an unknown vehicle, so he went to assist the injured dog,” officers wrote. “While trying to rescue the injured dog, Johnson was struck and killed by second vehicle traveling through the area. The vehicle that struck Johnson did not stop.”

A hit-and-run driveer killed Samuel Johnson Jr., pictured here. Johnson had been trying to save an injured dog on the road, cops said. (Images: Courtesy of Marcy Reagin, president of the Valdosta Touchdown Club)

A hit-and-run driver killed Samuel Johnson Jr., pictured here. Johnson had been trying to save an injured dog on the road, cops said. (Images: Courtesy of Marcy Reagin, president of the Valdosta Touchdown Club)

A good Samaritan was the first who encountered the scene.

“Another citizen traveling through the area stopped when she saw a deceased dog in the roadway,” officers wrote. “While checking on the dog, she observed Johnson laying in the grass median, along with an additional injured dog.”

She called 911. First responders pronounced Johnson dead at the scene.

During the search for the suspect vehicle, cops said that investigators determined the hit-and-run driver was in a dark-colored Dodge Charger, from between the years of 2011 to 2014. They suggested it had damage to the driver’s side front bumper. Officers said it was last seen traveling in the area of Inner Perimeter Road and North Forrest Street Extension.

“We are asking for the public’s assistance in locating this vehicle and offender,” Police Chief Leslie Manahan said. “It is unexplainable the callousness and disregard for human life that this offender has shown, by hitting this teenage victim and leaving him. My heart breaks for the family and friends of Mr. Johnson, who deserve answers as to why this happened to their loved one. If you know something, please say something. Our officers and detectives will not stop until they hold this offender accountable.”

Police eventually said in a cryptic update that they found the car.

“The black charger has been located and the VPD has custody of the vehicle,” cops wrote. “The case is still under investigation.”

Johnson played for the Valdosta Wildcat Football Team of Valdosta High School. The school is down the street from where he died.

“It is with a heavy heart that we ask you to pray for the family of Sam Johnson, Jr.,” the team wrote Sunday. “The Valdosta Wildcat Football Program mourns the loss of one of our student athletes who was involved in a deadly accident last night. While we don’t know all of the details, we are heartbroken and devastated by this tragic loss. He was an amazing young man who was taken from us way too soon. As our hearts are broken by the sudden loss, please keep his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time. Rest in Peace, Sam.”

From cops:

If anyone has any information, please contact the Valdosta Police Department Bureau of Investigative Services at 229-293-3145, the crime tip line at 229-293-3091, or file a tip online at www.valdostacity.com/police-department.

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *