Hearing set for suspect in death of Ivy Johnson - Arizona Range News: News

Hearing set for suspect in death of Ivy Johnson

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Posted: Wednesday, July 4, 2012 12:00 pm

 A man who allegedly killed a woman during a three-vehicle collision on Interstate 10 in February is scheduled for a hearing in July in Cochise County Superior Court.

Michael Lee Messer is charged with manslaughter of Ivy Michelle Johnson, aggravated assault and endangerment upon two other people, two counts of criminal damage by recklessly damaging property in an amount over $10,000, and unlawful means of transportation.

 He is also facing charges of driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle, while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, while impaired to the slightest degree, with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, with an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more, but less than 0.20, and with an alcohol concentration of 0.20 or more.

 A pre-trial conference will be held on Friday, July 27 in Division 4 court. Also, his jury trial is now scheduled to start on Oct. 1, according to court records.

Messer was arrested on March 26 “following an intensive investigation” on a warrant issued by Cochise County, according to Officer Quentin Mehr, who was an Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) spokesman at the time.

Messer had been administratively discharged from the United States Air Force prior to his arrest, he said.

Eighteen-year-old Ivy Michelle Johnson of Willcox and Mesa, perished in the accident while en route to her brother’s funeral in Willcox.

Johnson died in the three-vehicle collision at about 12:33 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 on eastbound Interstate 10, milepost 301.7.

The Dodge four-door passenger vehicle, driven by Messer, was traveling eastbound on I-10 when it rear-ended two other vehicles, said Mehr.

One was a Chevy passenger vehicle driven by Johnson, and the other a Ford passenger vehicle driven by 55-year-old William Traywick of Benson, he said.

Johnson was transported to University Medical Center in Tucson, where she passed away Feb. 25, said hospital spokeswoman Darci Slaten.

Messer, Traywick, and Johnson’s passenger -- 20-year-old Anthony Tyler -- were uninjured, Mehr said.

Johnson is the sister of Joshua Michael Morton of Willcox, whose memorial service was held Feb. 25 at First Southern Baptist Church of Willcox.

Morton had passed away Feb. 15 in Tucson at the age of 17, from a “firearm-related injury,” said Dr. Gregory Hess, Chief Medical Examiner with the Pima County Coroner’s Office.

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