Woman killed on SR 8 was Canton firefighter

Posted at 7:00 PM, Feb 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-23 17:36:47-05

Authorities have identified the woman hit by a pickup truck and killed after she walked into oncoming traffic on State Route 8 Monday. 

The Summit County Medical Examiner identified the woman as 43-year-old Tonya Johnson of Canton. 

Johnson was a firefighter and paramedic for the Canton Fire Department for 18 years.


R.I.P. Tonya Johnson. You are missed.

Posted by Canton Fire Station 4 on Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Police said Johnson got out of her car during an argument with her husband, Randey, over directions while they were on the expressway.

Police said Johnson crossed three southbound lanes, climbed over a cement barrier and was hit by a truck in the northbound lanes of the highway. She was dead before police arrived.

On Tuesday, Randey Johnson told that he had a disagreement with Tonya about whether to stay on or get off the highway so he pulled off to the side of Route 8. The couple had only been married for less than two weeks.

"We were holding hands and I was looking over to the left and she just opened the door," he said. "She just got out of the car and just started walking. I have no clue, no idea. She wasn't mad. She wasn't screaming."

Tonya leaves behind three children, two adult sons, Dejon and Trevon, and a 12-year-old year-old daughter named Temaria.

"My mom was a wonderful person. She would never hurt anybody. My mom, she had everything going for her. She always looked out for me and my brothers," Temaria Johnson said.

Her relatives have many questions about what led up to the tragedy and why it happened. They are convinced this was not a case of suicide.

"This is definitely not in my sister's character. Everybody standing here can vouch for that that. I'm not sure what went on that day, but I know for a fact the she didn't commit suicide," said her sister, Tiffani Waker.

As many as 10 chain-reaction wrecks were reported after the initial crash, backing up traffic for miles during rush hour. 

Witness calling to report the crash said several cars avoided Johnson before she was hit, according to the ABJ.

The Canton Fire Department released this statement Tuesday:

The Canton, Ohio Fire Department has suffered a tremendous loss.
Firefighter/paramedic Tonya Johnson passed away last night as the result of a car vs. pedestrian accident in Summit County. Our condolences and sympathy are with her family at this time.
Tonya came on the job May 18, 1998. She was an excellent firefighter / paramedic and served
the City well. She is survived by her 2 sons and 1 daughter. Services will be determined at a
later date.