Local News

Clayton couple killed in crash remembered as 'family-oriented'

Posted August 20, 2011

— A Clayton husband and wife were about a mile from home Friday night, after having dinner with friends, when another driver crashed into their Jeep, killing everyone involved, family members and authorities said Saturday.

John "Sonny" Johnson Jr., 63, was driving the Jeep as his wife, Annette Evans Johnson, 66, sat in the passenger seat. They were headed east on McLemore Road when Carl Gene Overmier, 44, of Springboro, Pa., crashed into them head-on, according to troopers.

The wreck happened around 9:30 p.m., and all three died. The cause of the wreck is still under investigation, but alcohol is not believed to be a factor, troopers said.

The Johnsons are survived by two sons, Ben and John, and three grandchildren, according to family members.

Longtime Johnston County developer and wife killed in wreck Friends remember Clayton developer and wife killed in wreck

Lee and Sylvia Wiggs, whose daughter married the Johnsons' son Ben, said the couple was very family-oriented, loved their children and grandchildren and were good Christians.

Sonny Johnson was a partner in Son-Lan Development company in Garner, which has developed more than 50 subdivisions and sold 5,800 residential lots in Johnston County. Annette Johnson was retired, according to family members, and planned to take care of her grandchildren once her daughter-in-law, who's a teacher, started school.

"(The) community really lost two awesome people," said Delia Monaco, who rents a home from Sonny Johnson with her husband, Thomas.

Thomas Monaco said that Sonny Johnson was like "second father" to him.

"When he talked to you, he exuded an air of friendship and hospitality. He was just a really, really nice guy," Thomas Monaco said. "They were probably the two kindest people anybody could have ever known."

When the first house the Monacos rented from Sonny Johnson burned down in 2008, Delia Monaco said he didn't hesitate to find them a new home.

"Here was his house burning to the ground and he was telling us, 'I'm going to take care of you. I'm going to take care of you; I have another house for you,'" she said.

A funeral for the Johnsons will be held at Oakland Presbyterian Church on Monday at 1 p.m. 


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  • WritNEWlaws Aug 22, 2011

    This is a good example of not to take life for granted. Cherish the ones you love, call them everyday and let them know how much you love them. My prayers are with the family.

  • starglow2005 Aug 22, 2011

    This is so sad and based on the looks of the Jeep it was a very hard hit. I just hope the guy at fault wasn't on his cell phone or doing something stupid that has affected the lives of many people forever.

  • MudLife Aug 22, 2011

    prayers to everyone who knew him. Sad to be only 1 mile from your house. He sounds like a really nice person from this story. There's just been waaaaay to many accidents from drivers driving in the wrong direction.

  • Brogden Aug 22, 2011

    Sonny was one of those guys who, if he told you something, you knew it was real. I shall miss him!

  • TomLynda Aug 22, 2011

    I have done lots and lots of work for Sonny and his partner, Lanny Clifton over the years. I have never worked for more honest men in my life, and I have worked (contracted from) numerous all over the nation. They would trust the professional opinion of their sub contractors.

    Sonny will be greatly missed, along with his wife. My heart goes out to his sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren, and to his partner, Lanny. It was my honor to have known this man.

  • chattycat Aug 22, 2011

    Another tragedy. Prayers to the family.

  • bjm011366 Aug 22, 2011

    More sad news..

  • Legally Here Aug 22, 2011

    prayers to the family members

  • Wendellcatlover Aug 22, 2011

    Sad story. It sounds like they were great people. My prayers go out for the whole family.

  • warbirdlover Aug 22, 2011

    Absolutly aweful.