Two Family Members Killed During Hit-and-Run in Sarasota County
Officials in Sarasota County have taken a 59-year-old man into custody for his alleged involvement in a severe hit-and-run collision that claimed the lives of two people and seriously injured two others last Saturday night on Interstate 75.
According to troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol, it was approximately 7:10 p.m. on Saturday, April 15, 2023, when 59-year-old Naples resident Donald Johnsen was driving a sedan in the southbound direction of I-75 in Venice. Traveling in the same direction within the adjacent lane was a pickup truck carrying a family of four. As both vehicles approached the area of mile marker 196 near Laurel Road, the driver of the sedan veered into the truck’s lane and slammed into the left side of the pickup.
After the initial impact, the force from the collision caused the pickup truck to spin out of control before finally overturning onto the grassy shoulder of the interstate. The driver of the sedan, Donald Johnsen, immediately fled the scene of the accident.
Several local first responders and officers with the Florida Highway Patrol were dispatched to the hit-and-run crash site. Upon their arrival, they discovered that two of the pickup’s passengers, a 64-year-old North Port man and a 50-year-old man from Lowell, Indiana, had been ejected from the truck during the collision. Both men sustained life-ending injuries and were declared dead. The driver of the pickup, a 63-year-old woman from North Port, and her front-seat passenger, a 41-year-old woman from Lowell, Indiana, suffered severe injuries and were transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital for further medical treatment.
Authorities were able to catch up to the suspected hit-and-run driver, Donald Johnsen, a short time later on Laurel Road.
He was arrested and charged with two counts of DUI manslaughter and two counts of leaving the scene of a crash involving death. Johnsen remains in jail with a $127,500 bond.
“Both of them always had a smile and were always positive. You drank, and you drove, and you killed two people and robbed so many people of so much time that they needed with them,” said one victim’s daughter in a statement to the press.
Since 1977, Florida wrongful death lawyer James O. Cunningham has been fighting for the rights of hit-and-run accident victims. To schedule a free 30-minute case evaluation, please contact us today at 877-FL-INJURY.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.