Man who hit, killed bicyclist gets 9-years prison sentence

A man believed to have fallen asleep at the wheel while coming down from meth and who struck and killed a bicyclist riding on the shoulder of Bethel Burley Road was sentenced Monday to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to vehicular homicide.

Thomas F. Johnson, 56, of Tacoma, died the afternoon of May 9, 2020, after being struck from behind by Shawn R. Damschen, 41, whose car drifted over the fog line, the Kitsap Sun reported.

Damschen, whose driver’s license had been suspended, continued driving for about a mile, dragging Johnson’s BMC road bicycle beneath his vehicle. When he finally stopped, Damschen was seen trying to dislodge the bicycle and said he believed he had struck a mailbox.

Before being sentenced, Damschen apologized to Johnson’s loved ones and said he understood their hurt and anger.

"Your feelings are valid," Damschen said. "I caused the loss of your loved one. I accept full responsibility for my actions. I’m not going to ask for your forgiveness, as I don’t feel I have that right."

Johnson’s friends and family described him as selfless and energetic, a family man and a lover of the outdoors who had an eye for good design, favored hot weather, rock ‘n’ roll and chocolate ice cream.

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