SPD apologizes to former fatal hit and run person of interest




Posted on March 17, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 18 at 6:16 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.—The Spokane Police Department apologized Monday to a woman once thought of as a person of interest in a fatal hit and run along Mission.

Terri Johnson was cleared Friday of having any involvement in a fatal hit and run on Mission in February.

Detectives had towed Terri Johnson’s SUV into evidence and put her name in public court documents. The woman said the whole ordeal nearly ruined her life. She said all she wanted in return was an apology.

Johnson got her SUV back and was cleared of being involved in the fatal hit and run.

READ: Woman cleared of deadly Mission hit and run

“I've been called a murderer, a cold heartless (person.) I've been called all kinds of names,” said Johnson.

Johnson said her world was rocked in March when Spokane Police Detectives came to her door and asked if she had any involvement in the hit and run that killed 55-year-old Don Foster.

“I didn't do it. I've said from the beginning I didn't do it,” said Johnson.

WATCH: Vehicle of interest found in deadly Mission hit and run case

Johnson said she understands why police confronted her. Her SUV matched the suspect vehicle and also had front end damage.

A neighbor said she was the one that put officers on Johnson’s tail. Johnson said she understands detectives were doing their job. She said she does have an issue with how she claimed she was treated.

“I was thrown on the chopping block. I was thrown out there saying I was guilty. I was guilty until proven innocent, “said Johnson. “I could have lost my daughter, my home, my job, everything.”

Johnson said she did appreciate when detectives publicly cleared her. She said she still wanted an apology. She got one on Monday.

“We are certainly sorry if we disrupted her life or caused her any issue...but the bottom line is we have to investigate fully all evidence,” said the SPD official.  "We are obligated to fully investigate a fatal hit and run and in this case her vehicle matched the vehicle of interest."

Authorities said investigating all of the evidence is important in a case where an innocent man lost his life.

"We need to bring a resolution to his family," added the SPD official.

The neighbor who reported Johnson refused to talk to KREM 2 News on camera Monday.

Spokane police said they would continue to investigate the hit and run.