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Woman on probation for double-fatal DUI crash arrested again

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By Jacquelyn Stoess Hack

An Oldham County woman responsible for a drunk-driving crash that killed two friends in 2006 could serve up to 10 years in prison after police arrested her recently outside a liquor store.

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Rebecca A. Johnson, 27, of Crestwood, is charged with public intoxication, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of synthetic marijuana.

Sheriff's deputies arrested Johnson about 4 p.m. Jan. 16 in the parking lot of a Carroll County liquor store.

She is six months shy of completing her five-year probation for the deaths of Justin Cantrell and Ben McIntosh.

In July 2006, Johnson crashed into a railroad crossing gate at Ky. 146 (La Grange Road) and Chamberlain Lane in eastern Jefferson County.

Johnson, who was drunk and speeding, suffered a severe brain injury and spent several months in rehab.

The impact of the crash sheared the vehicle in half.  Her passengers, Cantrell and McIntosh, both died at the scene.

Their grieving families were shocked a year later when a plea agreement amended Johnson's murder charges to manslaughter and a judge sentenced her to complete community service, rather than serve 10 years in prison.

Johnson's five-year probation expires in July. She is not regulary monitored by probation officers, although that could change if convicted on public intoxication charges.

According to police reports, deputies were notified that a man and woman who seemed highly intoxicated had been sitting in a vehicle outside ABC Liquor Store in Prestonville for an extended period of time on the afternoon of Jan. 16.

Johnson, a passenger in the vehicle, became belligerent when deputies arrived. She was arrested and housed in the Carroll County jail overnight. She posted a $500 cash bond.

The man in the driver's seat, Joshua Puckett, 30, of La Grange, is charged with two counts possession of a controlled substance and public intoxication. He was arrested and housed in the Carroll County jail for 10 days.

He posted bond Jan. 26, and his case has been referred to a grand jury.

Johnson did not appear in district court for her scheduled hearing on Thursday, although a family member attended on her behalf.

Her next court appearance is scheduled March 1.

Cantrell's mother, Tammy Cantrell-Williams, said she is disappointed, hurt and angry that Johnson has allegedly continued down the path of drugs and alcohol.

"Obviously she hasn't learned a lesson," she said. "We're definitely hoping she serves prison time."