A DeKalb County father cried in court Tuesday as a judge read aloud the charges against him in the suspected DUI crash that killed his 15-year-old daughter.
The charges for Anthony Johnson, 35, include driving under the influence and first-degree vehicular homicide. Police said he was driving drunk with his four children in the car when he lost control and crashed.
Corliss Johnson, 15, died in the accident on Highway 78 near Stone Mountain. Her 11-year-old sister Joy remains in critical condition at Children's Healthcare at Egleston and possibly has a brain injury, authorities said.
Corliss' two younger brothers were not seriously injured.
According to court records, Johnson has two prior DUIs; one in April of 2002 and the other in September of 2004.
Magistrate Judge Alan Harvey set bond at $12,500.
Johnson wept again when Harvey told him from the bench, "I hope your daughter recovers and there's no further tragedy to your family."
As he left court, Johnson told reporters, "I love my wife and family. Please pray for them in the hospital."
On Monday evening, classmates and friends of the teenager held a candlelight vigil in front of her home in the Alexander at Stonecrest Apartments in Lithonia.
Trilina Hernandez lives next door to the Johnson family. She attended the vigil and said she will remember Corliss' smile.
"It's kind of hard because I just saw Corliss yesterday. She was standing outside as usual, bright pretty smile. The neighborhood is sad," Hernandez said.
Tears rolled down cheeks of Corliss' friends and classmates from Stephenson High School as they remembered the good times they had with her.
Vicki Maxwell's daughter was one of them.
"It makes me want to hold my daughter and my son tight. It really touches home. It's a lot of kids in this neighborhood," said Maxwell.
Maxwell said while this is a sad situation, she hopes teenagers and their parents will learn from it.
"Just think a little bit before they move. It might be best sometimes to just stay where you're at and keep your kids in mind. Keep yourself in mind," said Maxwell.
Johnson crashed his 2006 Chrysler Pacifica into the wood line on Stone Mountain Highway just east of Hugh Howell Road on Sunday night.
Police said after Anthony Johnson crashed, he was unable to find his cell phone, so he walked about a mile to Metro Cafe Diner in Gwinnett County with his two boys, ages 8 and 9.
When officers arrived at the accident scene, they found Corliss dead in the car and an 11-year-old girl critically injured.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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