An Oak Harbor man is accused of backing a car into a propane tank, driving away from the scene, crashing head-on into another car and injuring two people, and then running away before police arrived, according to court documents.
Police weren’t able to locate the suspect, 26-year-old Joshua M. Johnston, who allegedly got into another accident after fleeing to Ohio; his passengers, a woman and two children, were injured in the Ohio crash and he ran away from the hospital, according to a report by a trooper with the Washington State Patrol.
Prosecutors charged Johnston in Island County Superior Court April 28 with vehicular assault, felony hit and run and misdemeanor hit and run.
On the afternoon of June 29, 2020 police were called to the Red Apple grocery store in Coupeville where a 1969 Oldsmobile had backed into a fence, smashing a shopping cart and hitting a propane tank, knocking it back a couple of inches, according to a report by a deputy with the Island County Sheriff’s Office.
The car left the scene. Johnston was identified as the suspected driver through the license plate and surveillance video, the report states.
A few hours later, the same car crossed the centerline on Libbey Road and struck another vehicle head-on.
The driver, suspected of being Johnston, and a passenger ran on foot from the scene after throwing a box into the bushes, according to the report by a trooper.
The two passengers in the other vehicle were transported to the hospital for treatment of injuries; one of the passengers was diagnosed and treated for a broken back, the trooper’s report states.
Investigators later found a box in the bushes on the roadside and found narcotics and drug paraphernalia inside.
Police were unable to locate Johnston, who was rumored to have fled the state with his girlfriend and her children, the trooper wrote.
The girlfriend’s mother told the trooper on July 14 that Johnston had gotten into another collision in Lima, Ohio, while the girlfriend and children were passengers.
The woman had been ejected from the car and one of the children suffered a fractured arm, the report states. Johnston had fled the hospital against medical advice, the trooper wrote.