Woman accused in crash that killed JSO bailiff released from jail

Kim Johnston, 46, charged in DUI crash that also injured 3 others

By Ashley Harding - Reporter, Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

ST. JOHNS, Fla. - A 46-year-old woman accused of driving drunk and causing a crash that killed a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office bailiff Sunday appeared before a St. Johns County judge Monday.

Kim Johnston was charged with two counts of DUI with serious bodily injury in the I-95 crash that also left the bailiff's husband, a JSO officer, with critical injuries and their two teenage children with minor injuries.

Johnston's bond was set at $100,000 on the charges, and she bonded out of jail at 4:15 p.m. Monday.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Johnston was driving under the influence in an Acura on I-95 north between State Road 16 and International Golf Parkway around 1:15 a.m. Sunday when she crashed into a Chevrolet Tahoe carrying a family of four. The impact caused the driver of the SUV to lose control and overturn after crossing several lanes of traffic.

JSO bailiff Cathy Adams was placed on life support after the crash but died late Sunday night. Her husband, JSO Officer William “Jack” Adams, was driving the SUV and became entrapped after the wreck. He survived the crash but has critical injuries. 

During her first appearance Monday, Johnston appeared to bow her head when she heard the prosecutor tell the judge that Cathy Adams had died.

READ: Community support pours in after loss of JSO bailiff

The judge ordered that Johnston not drive without a valid driver's license or permit and that she surrender her passport to the court. The Florida Highway Patrol has said more charges might be filed against Johnston.

News4Jax learned the Johnston refused to take a Breathalyzer test. The State Attorney's Office obtained a warrant to draw Johnston's blood, and a sample was sent to FDLE for processing. Results of toxicology tests can take weeks.

Troopers ask anyone who has information or who witnessed the crash to dial *347 or call 904-359-6572 and ask to speak with THI investigators.

A check of Johnston's St. Johns County driving record turned up five speeding tickets in less than two years from March 2004 to January 2006. She was also cited for failure to yield in November 2014. She completed driving school in Florida for some of the cases, which keeps points from being added to a driver's license.

Johnston was a part-time contractor who worked about 15 hours a week at Oakleaf Chiropractic and Injury Center. She was hired just last month, and also worked at other clinics around the area.

The owner of Oakleaf Chiropractic said Johnston is now ineligible to practice because she's charged with a felony, which affects her state certification. She no longer works for that company.

Johnston’s former boss also said the company conducts extensive background checks on all employees and that Johnston was previously a respected member of the chiropractic community in Jacksonville.

The owner said the Oakleaf clinic treats many police officers and everyone on the staff sends their condolences to those involved.

The following statement was posted online

We at Oakleaf Chiropractic and Injury Center (formerly Oakleaf Family Chiropractic) regretfully must say that a member of our staff has made a terrible choice during her personal time that led to a horrific crash and loss of life. She had recently joined us just a few weeks ago, and we conduct an extensive criminal background check on all employees, and she previously has been a respected member of the chiropractic community throughout Jacksonville for many years.
- Oakleaf Chiropractic and Injury Center

Johnston's friends seemed stunned that she was accused of DUI in the deadly crash.

"All I can say is that Kim is a caring and loving person who has supported police since I've known her. She's always been a responsible person. I feel for both families who lost a member and one who will have regrets for (the) remainder of her life. It affects everyone," Sherry Day said.

A former client, who declined to be named, said she and Johnston became friends after Johnston performed acupuncture on her 12 years ago.

"Kim is a great person who really cares about others," the woman said. "I am very sorry for her and the Adams family."

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