82-Year-Old Cited In Fatal Accident

By: WOWT 6 News Email
By: WOWT 6 News Email

An 82-year-old woman was cited Wednesday for misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide in the connection with the crash that killed a retired school teacher three weeks ago.

If convicted, Ruth Jeffers would face up to a year in jail.

On March 13th, Jeffers allegedly swerved and crashed head-on into Jim Johnston, who was riding his bicycle near 260th and West Center. Officials said Jeffers didn't see the car in front of her, which had stopped to turn.

Chief Deputy County Attorney Brenda Beadle told WOWT 6 News, “It’s a sad situation all around, very tragic."

Johnston had worked in the Millard School District for 32 years, first at Millard North and then Millard West. A district spokesperson told WOWT 6 News Johnston retired last year, but still worked at Millard West as a physical therapist/athletic trainer with Alegent Creighton Health.

Friends told WOWT 6 News that Jeffers was on her way back home from the salon for a St. Patrick's Day party at a La Vista apartment complex. Friends said she is heartbroken. She has since surrendered her driver's license.

Douglas County Sheriff's Department Capt. Eric Sellers said, "We can't really look at her age to exclude her, but it is in the back of our minds." Jeffers renewed her driver's license last April.

Investigators say speed wasn't a factor when she came upon the car in front of her waiting to turn. "She hit her brakes and swerved to miss it," said Capt. Sellers. "We all wished she would have swerved to the right instead of the left, instead of entering the oncoming traffic." That decision, investigators said, cost someone their life and that's why the county attorney filed charges.

Three years ago, Jeffers was cited for failure to yield. She crossed two lanes of traffic and struck a car waiting to turn left at 168th and Frances. For that she plead guilty and was fined $25.

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