Woman charged with DUI manslaughter in crash that killed JSO bailiff

Bailiff's husband, a Jacksonville motorcycle officer, also badly injured

Booking photo of Kim Johnston
Booking photo of Kim Johnston

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A woman accused of driving under the influence and causing a crash that killed a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office bailiff last month has now been charged with DUI manslaughter, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Kim Johnston's blood alcohol level was 0.126 seven hours after the Dec. 9 crash, according to court records. The legal limit in Florida is 0.08.

Johnston, 46, had been charged with two counts of DUI with serious bodily injury until the manslaughter charge was added Tuesday and she was arrested again. She posted $100,000 bond and was released after her initial arrest in December. 

Her bond was set at $125,000 on the DUI manslaughter charge. She appeared in court Wednesday morning. Her next court date has not been set yet.


Deadly crash, aftermath

Bailiff Cathy Adams, her husband, JSO Officer William "Jack" Adams, and their two teenage children were driving home from a state championship football game in Orlando when their SUV was hit by Johnston's car on I-95 north in St. Johns County.

Witnesses told troopers that Johnston was speeding before she crashed into the Adams' SUV, causing it to flip and hit a guardrail. 

The couple's children suffered minor injuries, but Cathy Adams' injuries were so severe that she died that night after coming off life support. She was remembered Saturday at a memorial attended by hundreds of fellow officers and loved ones.


Jack Adams' injuries were also serious, and the motorcycle officer spent nearly a week in the hospital before being transferred to a rehabilitation facility.

Hospital staff and fellow officers lined the hallway at Memorial Hospital to cheer and applaud him as he was wheeled out Dec. 14.

Community rallies

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said it has been overwhelmed by support since the crash.

The local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police is collecting donations to help the Adams family, and a GoFundMe account has been set up to make the process easier.


Checks can also be made payable to the FOP Foundation, notating “Benefit of Adams Family” in the memo section. They can be mailed to Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 5-30, 5530 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, Florida, 32207. You can also call 904-398-7010 ext. 10 or 11 and donate via debit/credit card.

VyStar has also opened a donation account for the Adams' children. According to a release, the teens were staying with friends and do not have immediate family in town.

The Adams Family Donation Account is accepting donations at any Vystar branch through account number 7507821339. The account will remain open through March 14, 2019.

About the Authors: