January 16, 2013
The family of Jessica Lewis sparred with the family of her ex-husband outside Albemarle County Circuit Court on Wednesday after Lewis received her sentence for manslaughter.
Lewis, 37, received a total of two years for a car crash in November 2011 that killed her daughter and ex-husband.
The two families clashed outside the courtroom.
"They were wanting her to go take them to Waynesboro to score some crack," claimed Steve Trunzo, Lewis' uncle.
"Let them rest in peace," said Naomi Johnson, the mother of victim Michael Johnson and grandmother of victim, Amber Leigh Johnson. "Don't make them look like they are the bad guy."
Prosecutors tried to prove Lewis was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash but were unsuccessful.
"Nobody wins," assistant commonwealth's attorney Jon Zug said. "Nobody ever wins in any of these cases."
Outside the courtroom during an interview with media, Trunzo interrupted Zug's interpretation of what happened, claiming Michael and Amber Johnson were also at fault.
"You can delude yourself as much as you want about this," Zug told him. "She was under the influence of marijuana at the time and going too fast."
"To turn around and say this was marijuana-related, that's bull," Trunzo said.
The back-and-forth continued in front of a number of Johnson's family members.
"I'll tell you what I know. I know that denial is not just a river in Egypt," Zug said to Trunzo. "You seem to have a lot of denial."
"There was a whole lot more going on in that car that [Lewis] very kindly did not reveal," Trunzo claimed.
Lewis' family maintains her ex-husband and daughter were possibly on drugs and distracting Lewis when the car crashed.
"You have no idea, but you're going to give her the benefit of the doubt for that when the evidence shows that she was under the influence," Zug said to Trunzo.
Johnson's family said they're upset by what they consider a light sentence.
"Basically, what it amounts to is what kind of consequence is that? Two years for two lives?" said Scott Johnson, Michael's brother.
"The simple fact is this," Zug said. "There wasn't anything that any of us could do today that was going to make this right."
Once released, Judge Cheryl Higgins ordered Lewis to repay funeral expenses to Johnson's family.