Woman allegedly drunk, texting when she hit Northside High School student

COLUMBUS, Ga — A 34-year-old woman faces charges Thursday after police say she was allegedly drunk and texting while driving when she ran over a local high schooler.

Christine Mennona was arrested Wednesday and charged with homicide by vehicle, DUI, and texting/use of wireless device while driving, according to police. Her charges are related to the September 4 death of 15-year-old Justin “JP” Johanson.

As News 3 reported, Johanson appears to have been lying in the middle of River Road near Bradley Park Drive when he was fatally hit by Mennona’s car. A police report describing the incident lists Mennona as the driver, but says she was not initially charged.

Mennona appeared before a judge Thursday morning at 9 a.m. where she was granted $50,000 bond for the homicide charge, $500 for DUI and $150 for texting, according to jail personnel.

Justin "JP" Johanson (Donated photo)
Justin “JP” Johanson (Donated photo)

News 3 has reported five arrests in addition to Mennona’s since Justin Johanson’s death.

Police say 17-year-old Giovanni Montesclaros was arrested September 15 and charged with purchasing alcoholic beverages for minors, providing false statements and writings, furnishing alcohol to a person under 21 years of age, possessing a false identification document, attempting to purchase alcohol by misrepresenting identity. Montesclaros left the jail later the same evening on bond.

Four teens were also arrested and charged in connection to the teen’s death. All four have been released back to their parents.


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