The one passenger to die among four riders in the Jeep was a woman "in a bad spot," said a lifelong friend who remembers her as "the innocent kid."
Their lives ended at the intersection of 23rd Street and Television Place in Kansas City on Friday — Shawn Johnson Jr., 30, and AaRon Daniel, 29, of Kansas City in the car; Amanda Perry, 27, of Independence in the Jeep.
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A third person in the car later died of her injuries. She has not yet been identified.
Johnson had just gotten off work and was on his way to pick up a car for his mother when the stolen Jeep fleeing from Independence police slammed into the Dodge Avenger he was riding in with family.
Daniel was one of Johnson's distant cousins. Family members said Daniel was on his way to see his newborn daughter. Another of Johnson's cousins suffered serious injuries.
The crash has hit the family hard, his father, Shawn Johnson Sr. of Raytown, said on Monday.
"It's a tragedy for any of them to lose their life like that," he said. "It's senseless."
Johnson Sr. said his son was a good kid.
"He was just getting off work and was on his way to pick up his mom's car from a car dealership," Johnson said. "The crash took my boy."
Johnson Jr. graduated a few years ago from the Aviation Institute of Maintenance on Raytown Road in Kansas City, where he studied engine maintenance. About four months ago, he began as a maintenance worker for City Wide Maintenance Co., working at Kansas City's City Hall.
Johnson was a father of three young children — two boys and a girl, all under 8 years old. Two of the children lived with him.
The driver of the fleeing Jeep, Victoria M. Brown, 24, has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder and resisting arrest. The charges were filed before the fourth victim died at the hospital, so additional charges are possible.
"I just want to make sure that the young lady is prosecuted for what she has done and for the lives that she has taken away from people," Johnson Sr. said.
At this point, he said, he had nothing to say about the role that Independence police played in the crash.
"I haven't gotten the investigation report or anything, so I can't tell you something I don't know," he said.
A GoFundMe page has been established by relatives.
"He's the guy who'd make you laugh and meet no strangers," Johnson said of his son.
Friends who knew Perry since she was a child growing up in the Highland Manor mobile home village in Independence said they do not know how she came to be in the front seat of that Jeep, said Frank Galvan.
In conversations in phone calls and on social media, none of Perry's friends recognized the name of the woman charged with second-degree murder who was driving the Jeep.
Perry grew up playing with Galvan's children, the 51-year-old longtime friend said.
When Perry and her husband, Damon Perry, and their two children needed a home, Galvan had let them use one of his old trailers, he said.
"We were trying to give her a path," he said.
Perry was not quite the same since her mother — whom she had been living with — died about 10 years ago, he said. The mother and daughter had survived a lot together. They had been homeless a while after a trailer home burned. She did not have much other family.
Amanda and Damon Perry left the trailer home about three years ago, Galvan said, and went to try to make a new start in Texas.
But Amanda and her children returned sometime after that.
Texas prison records show that Damon Perry remains in Texas, incarcerated for burglary charges.
It doesn't make sense to Galvan or other friends of Perry's that she was in that Jeep. They can't see her in that kind of trouble.
"I still see the innocent kid in my eyes," he said.
Brittnee Galvan, Frank's daughter and a "childhood best friend" of Perry's, lamented her friend's difficult life.
"Her and her mother always had a tough time in life," she said. The end is sad, she said, but she is relieved that "she can finally rest."