Pete Johnson, 23, of Kaplan, was a passenger in a vehicle found overturned south of Kaplan near La 35 and Waldo Road at 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
Reports indicate Kade Abshire, 23, also of Kaplan, was driving north on LA 35 and entered a left curve and traveled off the right side of the road, which caused the vehicle to overturn. Abshire was ejected from the vehicle and transported to a local hospital to be treated for minor injuries.
Johnson was also not restrained and was pronounced dead by the Vermilion Parish Coroner. Throughout the investigation, officials discovered that Abshire had been under the influence of alcohol. After being released, Abshire was arrested for DWI 1st offense, vehicular homicide, careless operation and no seatbelt. Abshire’s blood alcohol level was found to be twice the legal limit.
Johnson worked for the Vermilion Sheriff’s Office from 2008 until March of this year. He worked in the corrections’s division (the parish jail) under the supervision of Col. Kirk Frith.
Frith spoke highly of Johnson and remembers the kind of worker he was.
“Looking back, I can say that Pete really liked his job here and began making friends from day one,” said Frith. “He was a very dependable and hard working deputy.
“If you ask any one of the deputies that worked with Pete, they would probably tell you that Pete did his job well on shift, but that he also brought a sense of real loyalty and friendship to those around him.”
As of Monday afternoon, funeral arrangements had not been made for Johnson.
“Pete had a cheerful and happy-go-lucky demeanor,” Frith added. “He had that uncanny ability to make you laugh, that all too much needed relief from the serious and often dangerous job that corrections officers face every day.
“I truly believe that we could all learn from Pete, and try to see the glass half full rather than half empty.
“He will be missed by all who knew him here at the Sheriff’s Office, and for some deputies that were really close to him, the pain will last a lifetime.”
Funeral services will be held Tuesday at 3 p.m. He will be laid to rest at Kaplan Cemetery with Reverend Ted Broussard officiating the services.
He is survived by his parents, Darrin and Toni Johnson; his sister, Brittany Johnson; his brother, Justin Johnson; his maternal grandparents, Sam and Diane Broussard; his paternal grandmother, Mary Johnson; his aunts and uncles, Craig and Mickey Hargrave, Tammy and Don Fontaine, Benny and Brian Roche and his godfather, Fr. Ted Broussard; and numerous cousins.
““He was a good kid,” Vermilion Parish Sheriff Michael Couvillon said. “I know his parents. He was a fine deputy, and we hated to lose him when he went to the oilfield.”