Local News

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

Posted August 20, 2011 7:54 a.m. EDT
Updated August 20, 2011 11:44 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.