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Athens woman's highway death remains a mystery

Angelica Johnson (Facebook)

By Joe Johnson

An Athens woman’s death earlier this week that resulted from her falling from a moving car on the Athens Perimeter remained a mystery as of Thursday afternoon.

Investigators had yet to determine whether 32-year-old Angelica Johnson of Jefferson Road accidentally fell out of the car, was forced out, or something else happened, according to Lt. Shaun Barnett, public information officer for ACCPD.

Johnson suffered fatal injuries when struck by a truck after exiting the car.

The car and truck both left the scene, but the driver of the car Johnson was in was later located by police and interviewed about the incident. Barnett would not say if the driver shed light on how Johnson exited the car.

“At this time, the driver of that vehicle has not been charged with any crimes related to this incident,” Barnett said. “However, the investigation is active and ongoing.”

In recounting what he saw happen, witness Charles Floyd demonstrated the

difficulties that investigators are faced with.

The 59-year-old Royston resident told Classic City News that he was driving with his wife on the perimeter when a Nissan sedan passed him at a high rate of speed and he saw the car’s passenger-side door being pushed open, apparently by the passenger who then tumbled onto the roadway.

“My wife and I talked about this over and over again, and we’re pretty sure (Johnson) pushed the door open,” Floyd said. “It all happened so fast I’m not sure what happened.”

He described the vehicle that subsequently struck Johnson as a dark-colored Dodge pickup truck with chrome bed handles.

Another witness, Jeffery Cook from Bowman, reportedly told police that when the Nisan passed his vehicle “he noticed the front passenger door of the sedan was being held open by an arm.

“He observed Johnson exit the passenger door as the vehicle was moving and fall onto the roadway,” an officer wrote in a police incident report.

The incident, reported at 11:49 a.m. Tuesday, occurred on the perimeter’s outer loop between Lexington Road and Olympic Drive, according to police.

Beth Reinhardt, who was driving home to North Carolina, said she was several vehicles behind the car Johnson was in when the incident occurred.

She said a man parked his truck in front of the injured woman, to protect her from being hit by additional vehicles. While that man called 911, Reinhardt said she got a jacket from her car that she placed over Johnson so that other motorists couldn’t take photos or videos of the victim. Another man located Johnson’s phone on the grassy shoulder and gave it to a police officer.

Reinhardt said she and the other witnesses stayed with Johnson and prayed for her until an ambulance came to take Johnson to the hospital, where she was pronounced deceased.

Barnett said the investigation was ongoing and urged anybody with information regarding the incident to contact Detective Scott Black at (762) 400-7058 or Officer First Class Dustin Tilley at dustin.tilley@accgov.comor (762) 400-7355.

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