Graham charged with DWI resulting in death

Steve Chapman

Johnny Graham

Suspect remains behind bars after entering not guilty plea
A man from Alpena, Ark. was arrested after he allegedly caused an accident while driving under the influence of alcohol, killing one person and seriously injuring another. Johnny Graham, 44, is charged with two counts of driving while intoxicated; one count is for the person he allegedly killed in the accident, and the other is for the person he allegedly injured.
According to the probable cause statement in the case, the accident took place on Monday, Oct. 4, just before 2 p.m., at the intersection of U.S. Highway 60 and Business 60 in Verona when Graham, while making a left turn, allegedly failed to yield to a vehicle being driven by Lisa Sanders.
At the scene of the accident, the investigating officer noted Graham had a strong odor of intoxicants on his breath when he (the officer) asked Graham if he needed medical attention.
The officer performed a preliminary breath test on Graham and found his blood-alcohol level to be in excess of .08, the legal limit in Missouri. Graham was unable to perform the field sobriety test at the scene, so the officer placed him under arrest and took him to the Lawrence County Jail. A breath test performed there on Graham showed his blood alcohol level to be .166.
Sanders, 60, was seriously injured in the accident and transported by EMS services to a hospital. Jewell Letterman, 80, Sanders’s mother and the passenger in her car, was pronounced dead at the scene. According to social media posts, Letterman and Sanders, both of Aurora, were returning from a family member’s wedding at the time of the crash.
As of press time, Graham remained in custody at the Lawrence County Jail. According to online records, he appeared in court on Thursday, Oct. 7, and pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. He will be back in court on Thursday, Oct. 14, for a bond reduction hearing, and again on Thursday, Nov. 4, for a preliminary hearing.
A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help Lisa Sanders with medical expenses; it had raised $1,650 towards a goal of $5,000 as of press time.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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