Windsor man gets 8 years for fatal crash

Published 11:45 am Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Windsor man will serve eight years for a fatal crash that killed a mother and daughter.

Wesley Aaron Johns, 27, was sentenced to an active sentence of four years each for two counts of involuntary manslaughter stemming from the Feb. 10, 2015, crash on Whaleyville Boulevard.

“I’m so sorry,” he said in court on Monday morning to the families of Teresa Brooks Brown, 60, and Bernice Pong Brooks, 84, both of Colerain, N.C. “I wish anything else would have happened.”

Evidence suggests Johns was texting when the crash happened. He opened a text message at 33 seconds past 8:04 a.m. that Tuesday morning, prosecutor George Bruch said. The crash was reported at 8:05 a.m. after Johns drifted into the lane of oncoming traffic, striking the PT Cruiser Brown was driving, with her mother riding along, with his minivan.

His phone was found embedded in the dashboard directly in front of the driver’s seat.

Judge L. Wayne Farmer called the act of texting while driving “ridiculous” in court. Johns also was sentenced for possession of heroin and possession of a firearm with drugs, both of which were also found in his vehicle.

“I sentence people in this court every day who go out with malicious intent, intending to harm people,” Farmer said. “In many ways, that’s much easier.”

Farmer said Johns did not intend to harm anybody that day, but that doesn’t change the results.

“You are responsible for the death of a grandmother, mother, wife, sister,” Farmer said. “There’s no amount of time I can give that will undo what you have done.”

Family members of Brown and Brooks submitted statements telling how the loss of their relatives affected them.

“Some of these individuals are trying very hard not to harbor any ill will toward you,” Farmer told Johns. Some were asking for the maximum punishment allowed — a total of 35 years, Farmer said.

Two of Johns’ relatives spoke during the hearing.

After his sentence, Johns will be in drug treatment and have his license suspended indefinitely. A suspended sentence of 27 years will also be hanging over his head.