Former Mount Airy mayor killed in crash

March 05, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

MOUNT AIRY, Md. - Former Mount Airy Mayor Gerald R. Johnson died Thursday when the sport utility vehicle he was driving on Interstate 70 in Frederick County, Md., collided with a car and overturned, Maryland State Police Sgt. Ira Click said.

Johnson, 70, of Mount Airy, was declared dead at the scene, Click said.

Johnson served as mayor for three terms from 1990 to 2002 and served the first few months of a fourth term before a court ruling overturned his victory, current Mayor James S. Holt said.

"He was a really nice guy. I think people liked him as a mayor," Holt said.

Holt remembered when he first moved to town in 1992 he had a problem with the roads in his housing development not being plowed because the roads didn't belong to the town yet.


Holt said Johnson was a retired school teacher.

A phone call to Johnson fixed the problem and the roads got plowed, Holt said.

Holt ran as a write-in candidate in the 2002 mayoral election and, at first, more than 200 ballots bearing only his last name written in were not counted so Johnson was declared the winner, Holt said.

The case went to Carroll County Circuit Court, where the ruling allowed the ballots to stand and Holt took over as mayor in August 2002, he said.

The accident, which occurred at around 5:40 p.m., resulted in the westbound lanes of I-70, west of exit 59 for Md. 144, to be partially shut down for two hours, Click said. I-70 was shut down in both directions, briefly, to allow the helicopter to land.

Johnson's wife, whose name was not available, was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center with non-life threatening injuries, Click said. The Johnsons were wearing their seat belts in the 1989 Ford Bronco, he said.

The Bronco went off the road and overturned after colliding with a Toyota Celica in the westbound lanes, Click said.

The Toyota's driver and multiple passengers were taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital as a precaution, Click said.

No further information was available.

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