Driver who fled from fatal crash indicted

Robert Brown Jr.

A Youngstown man is facing felony charges that allege he fatally struck a 23-year-old man walking in the city more than five months ago.

Michael J. Johnson Jr., 24, of Rosewood Avenue, was indicted Thursday by a Mahoning County grand jury on second-degree felony charges of aggravated vehicular homicide and third-degree felony charges of tampering with evidence and failing to stop after an accident.

Charges say his license was suspended for failing to provide proof of financial responsibility at the time of the crash that killed Robert Brown Jr. of Youngstown. He was charged with driving under suspension April 20 in Boardman. He was sentenced to five days of day reporting and six months probation.

Brown’s family said he was fatally struck by a car early Feb. 3 while on West Hylda Avenue and Market Street in the Uptown District after leaving a party at Duka’s bar. A friend tried to pull him away from the car, but was unable to.

Brown was knocked several feet in the air, his family said. He died about 24 hours later.

Brown’s fiancé, Bianca Caradine, said she and Brown planned to be married in July. He was planning to go to barber school in Akron.

During a candlelight vigil on Feb. 8 at the West Hylda Avenue location where Brown was struck, someone careened into a crowd, striking five people.

WKBN’s Natalie Jovonvich was interviewing family members when cameras caught the ensuing chaos.

Witnesses said a white Pontiac urned its lights off, jumped a curb and struck five men. Several were thrown into the air after impact.

Chester Mitchell, 19, Brown’s neighbor, had surgery on his ankle after the crash and had a plate with two screws on each side. Another victim, Tyler Austin, 19, has had multiple surgeries after severely breaking his leg. He was in a coma for several weeks after the crash, and was the most severely injured.

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