As the death of his wife draws closer, attorney William S. Fong will need help from a friend.
Fongs friend, Mark S. Johnson, has just received a $250,000 settlement from the California Department of Motor Vehicles for driving recklessly and causing the death in his SUV.
Fowlings accident came on the heels of the California Supreme Court ruling in June that ordered the DMV to release Johnson from his obligation to pay $5 million to a woman who was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident.
Johnson had been assigned to represent Fowlers estate, but he failed to follow the court’s order and the settlement will be paid to the woman’s mother, who is seeking damages for her daughter’s injuries.
Sometime between the two crashes, Johnson was driving his Jeep Cherokee on a county road when he crossed the center line and struck a parked car.
He was charged with DUI and manslaughter, but a jury found him not guilty of both charges.
Johnson was initially sentenced to three years probation, but that was later reduced to six months.
Johnson’s attorney, Matthew R. Pohl, said in a statement that he expects to be compensated for his time and effort in representing Fowls estate.
“The fact that the DMV agreed to pay Johnson, without seeking the court order, is a major victory for the family and the community,” he said.
The California Supreme court ruled in June, citing the fact that Johnson had already been sentenced in a motor vehicle accident and had no prior criminal record.
But the court said that the decision not to seek a court order to keep Johnson on probation was a violation of the public trust doctrine, which prohibits state officials from retaliating against a public official for acting in good faith.
“That’s a big deal,” Fowles mother, Denise Fowlerson, told ABC News.
“I don’t understand why the California DMV would be doing this.
I think they should be looking into it.”