Police say fleeing car thieves caused crash that killed 89-year-old woman

A woman who died following a deadly crash that police said was caused by fleeing car thieves has been identified.

Sammie Lee Johnson, 89, was in the passenger seat of a vehicle waiting for a red light when police say the driver of the stolen car, 33-year-old Seneca D. Howard, struck another car at an intersection which caused it to flip over onto the car in which Johnson was riding.

Sammie Lee Johnson

According to an arrest report, probable cause was established to charge Howard with grand theft of a motor vehicle.  He sustained lacerations to his hand during the crash and was transported to Advent Health with non-life-threatening injuries. 

A passenger in the stolen vehicle, 27-year-old Deonte Slaughter is also in custody. Slaughter was arrested on a charge of possession of MDMA of ecstasy with intent.  He was admitted to Orlando Regional Medical Center for injuries sustained to his face.

Deonte Slaughter, passenger in stolen vehicle

The crash happened at the intersection of Westmoreland Dr. and Central Ave. in Orlando's Parramore neighborhood.  Orlando Police Sgt. David Baker said the suspected car thieves believed they were being pursued by officers and blew through the intersection at a high rate of speed.  Baker said officers were not pursuing the stolen car at the time of the crash.

A three-car crash at the intersection of Westmoreland Dr. and Central Ave. has claimed the life of one woman.

"Traffic Homicide Investigators are still investigating this incident, and it is considered open and active," Baker added.  

Charges for the crash itself will be determined at the conclusion of the investigation, Sgt. Baker added.  Meanwhile, Johnson's family is heartbroken this holiday.

"I’m going to try and hold on. Do what she raised me to do. Keep it like she had it, family first," explained Johnson's son, Eric Siplin.

Her family said the innocent grandmother was on her way to finish Christmas shopping

"They took someone away from me that had a lot more to go. Just cause she was up in age doesn’t mean she wasn’t going no further cause that’s how strong she was."

Siplin said when he said goodbye to his mother before she left to go shopping, he never knew it would be the last time he would see her alive. 

"I’ll see you when you get back and the next time I seen her wasn’t what I wanted to see," he said. "If you have anyone you love, anyone you care about, you better kiss them and hug em’ every time they step out that door because you never know, you never know."