ORLANDO, Fla. – An 89-year-old woman was running Christmas errands Monday morning when police say a stolen vehicle landed on top of the vehicle she was in, killing her and injuring her daughter, family members told News 6.
Eric Siplin said his mother, 89-year-old Sammie Lee Johnson, was with her son and daughter getting some things to prepare for Christmas dinner when the crash happened.
Sammie Lee Johnson, 63-year-old Stephanie House and 61-year-old Bruce Cedric Johnson were only a few blocks away from the house when Orlando police say a stolen red Nissan crashed, went airborne and landed on top of the black Toyota they were in.
“It couldn’t have been more than five minutes (after they left) and my brother called me. ‘You need to come, mom’s been in a bad accident.’ And when he said ‘bad,’ I could hear it in his voice,” Siplin said.
When he arrived at the crash scene on West Central Boulevard and Westmoreland Drive, he knew it was serious.
“You know, they had everything blocked off and I was kind of freaked out because of the fact there was a large police presence,” Siplin said.
He was shocked and devastated when his mother died Monday, just two days before the family was set to celebrate Christmas.
“She was the backbone of this family,” Siplin said. “She strived on these holidays, you seen it.”
He said Sammie Lee Johnson was like a second mother to many in her neighborhood. He described her as a beautiful woman who was full of life.
“I was looking forward to her 90th birthday, was looking forward to her watching one of my grandsons walk across the stage. I was looking forward to these days because I knew she was able to make it,” Siplin said.
The family had to spend Christmas grieving her loss instead of celebrating with her.
Siplin said Christmas was one of her favorite times to see family and she had been planning on hosting Christmas dinner at her home like she had for decades.
While Siplin mourns the loss of his mother and supports House as she recovers from serious injuries, he has a message for Seneca Howard, the man accused of driving the stolen Nissan at the time of the fatal crash.
He said Howard and Deonte Slaughter, who police said was a passenger in the stolen vehicle, destroyed their family.
“They done took something precious out of my life. One part of my heart is gone and I can’t understand,” Siplin said. “To spend two or three days in jail, you could have just stopped. It’s not that serious, but now it is.”
Howard posted bond out of jail Wednesday.