CANTON, OH (WOIO) - The children of a Canton firefighter hit and killed by oncoming traffic told Cleveland 19 they are suspicious of their mom's new husband, and his account of events leading up to her death.
Tonya Johnson's two oldest children, Trevon Boone and Dejon Newell, spoke to Cleveland 19 Wednesday. They said they felt something was suspicious about their mom's death as soon as they heard what had happened.
"When I heard what happened it was disbelief," said Boone. "My mom would never commit suicide. My mom would never jump out of the car at a moving rate of speed unless she felt her life was immediately in danger."
"She jumped over the median because she felt like whatever was in that car was more dangerous than oncoming traffic going 70 miles an hour, and the risk and reward was worth it. The risk was dying obviously but the reward was getting away from him," said Newell.
The person Boone and Newell said they think their mother, 43, and a fire fighter for 18 years, was trying to get away from was her husband of just more than a week, Randey Johnson.
Cleveland 19 spoke to Randey over the phone, and he said he loved his wife, and never did anything to hurt her.
"For people to think that I would ever hurt her, or ever do anything like that is so outlandish it hurts me to think about it," said Randey.
According to Akron police, Randey and Tonya were heading southbound on Route 8 Monday afternoon at about 4 p.m.. The two argued, Tonya got out of the vehicle, ran across three lanes of traffic, climbed over a median and was hit and killed by a truck going the opposite direction. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
"A lot of people for some reasons think that my wife and I were fighting or we couldn't handle each other and that was not the case. I never touched her, never put a hand on her, we just had newlywed little spats," said Randey.
The pair had a quick romance, meeting four months ago and getting married in earlier this month.
"I did not know this guy at all I've only known him, I've only seen him twice," said Boone. "My mom just wanted to be happy, she just wanted to be happy. Nobody wants to die alone. My mom just wanted to be happy, and she loved him, and I couldn't stand in the way of her marrying him and stopping this from happening."
Akron Police said Wednesday the investigation is ongoing and is "strictly" a traffic incident. Cleveland 19 was told a traffic reconstruction specialist from the department is continuing to investigate, and if anything criminal is uncovered the specialist would then work with detectives with the department.
Meantime, firefighters who worked the same shift as Johnson returned to work Wednesday.
Canton fire chief Thomas Garra says a chaplain met with Johnson's shift to talk about the loss.
"A lot of them have dealt with stress in this job, but again this hits home, so we want to make sure we can reach out to them to provide opportunities to counsel individually or collectively like we did today," said Garra.
He said at Wednesday morning's meeting, firefighters who worked alongside Tonya expressed different concerns.
"They're obviously concerned how it happened, why it happened,how to prevent it, some expressed concerns like the last time they talked with her, just talking with her going through the emotional fact that it's the last time they talked with her and not knowing that," said Garra.
They were also given a guide of what to expect, and how to handle stress after a critical incident like the death of one of their own.
Johnson was described by friends as a fighter and a giving person who 'made everyone around her better.'
Funeral arrangements for Tonya are still pending.
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