A mother of one of the victims has revised earlier reports on a grand jury indicting a New Jersey woman for the fiery crash that killed her four daughters, claiming that the driver was reportedly drag racing moments before the single-car accident that killed her daughter and three others.
Nashauna Johnson, a 20-year-old Newark woman who was 19 at the time, was arrested on four counts of vehicular homicide after the car she was driving lost control, crashed, and caught fire, killing all passengers except herself. Taylor Hill, 19, and Kamal Johnson, 18, both of Newark (who died instantly), as well as Asanti McNair, 19, and Nashawn Brooks, 19, both of Irvington (the driver’s boyfriend), were among the victims. McNair and Brooks both died on June 10th.
Although investigators initially claimed Johnson’s speed had no bearing on the crash of her Cadillac CTS, Hill’s mother, Michele Donald, took to social media to clarify that speed was a factor, as the car lost control due to Johnson allegedly drag racing. Additionally, Donald affirms that she nor the other families are “going after [Johnson] nor pressing charges, THE STATE is.” Supporting the claims of drag racing, is Brooks’ close friend, Elton Jean-Baptiste, who told Essex News Daily in 2020 how angry and grief-stricken he is after revealing that he and Brooks agreed to race each other home after a day at the beach.
Jean-Baptiste stated, “As I was taking the exit, there were three cars ahead of me, so I slowed down. After that, I thought to myself that the race is over, so I’ll just take everyone home. I took an exit, but they kept going because they had the other three people to take home. While I was driving, I had asked someone to call Nashawn, but he didn’t pick up. So, someone called Nashuana, the driver. She didn’t pick . Right then and there, I had a feeling something happened, but I just wanted to assume their phones were both dead. I chose not to think too much of it. I woke up at 5 a.m. to missed calls and texts. I called Coach Smoke, and he told me the situation. After that, my heart dropped. I was hoping for the best because he was still alive. Later, I got the news and it had me stuck. I didn’t think it was real. I was at a loss for words.”