Vigil held for teen killed in car wreck

by: Craig Lucie Updated:


DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Friends gathered Monday night to remember a teenager killed in a crash.

Her father has been charged with DUI for causing the wreck.

About 100 people turned out for a candlelight vigil to remember Corliss Johnson, 15, who died in the crash that happened along Highway 78 in DeKalb County on Sunday night.

Friends gathered in front of the apartment that Johnson shared with her family.

She was a freshman at Stevenson High School and her classmates told Channel 2's Craig Lucie she was always joking around.

"This is such a tragedy for all of us," one friend said as everyone shared stories at Monday's vigil, while others said a prayer.

Johnson's best friends told Lucie she was always smiling and she looked up to Shatara Grimes.

"We laughed and shared a lot of good moments together," Grimes said.

Grimes and her brother, Jacorey, said Johnson's personality rubbed off on them.

"Very outgoing, loud, carefree in the moment, no drama, never bothered anybody. When she came in the room (she) brightened it," Shatara Grimes said.

"She always had a smile on her face. She would never get into any problems. She was just a real nice person," Jacorey grimes said about Johnson.

Police say Johnson was in the car that her father, Anthony Johnson, lost control of when it crashed into the woods on Highway 78 Sunday night.

Detectives said Johnson walked a mile to the Metro Café diner where Channel 2 Action News obtained surveillance video.

Police said Johnson walked in with his two injured sons while Corliss and her 11-year-old sister were left at the crash scene.

"Last night I passed the accident, but I didn't know it was them," family friend Trilina Hernandez said.

Hernandez said she didn't find out Corliss was gone, or that her sister was in critical condition and police had charged their father with DUI and vehicular homicide until Monday afternoon.

"My son saw a car over in a ditch and he said 'Mom, I don't know. Whoever was in that car something really bad happened,'" Hernandez said.

A close family friend said she spoke with Corliss Johnson's mother on the phone and said her 11-year-old sister is going to recover. They told Lucie she has a broken leg, her arms are broken but she is going to make it.

Anthony Johnson is expected to appear before a DeKalb County judge Tuesday morning.