‘One way or another, we will get justice.’ Dragging victim’s family angered by suspect’s release

Local News

A Quad-City family doesn’t believe justice will be served despite the arrest in a hit-and-run incident that killed their relative.

Police arrested Mark Blackwood, of Davenport, last week to face charges of homicide by vehicle – reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident – death, both felonies in connection with the death of 60-year-old Eric Johnson, of Rock Island.

Police found Johnson in the street Jan. 18 at Fillmore Lane and West Central Park Avenue in Davenport almost a month ago. Investigators say Johnson was struck by Blackwood’s vehicle near Washington Street, then was dragged to Fillmore.

Johnson died at a hospital. Blackwood now is out on bond after spending less than 24 hours in jail.

“How can you kill somebody and they get a slap on the wrist like that?” asked Narvie Cooper, Eric Johnson’s nephew.

Police arrested Blackwood late last week in the hit-and-run accident that killed Eric Johnson. Despite facing felony charges, Blackwood posted bail over the weekend.

Knowing Blackwood has been released has Johnson’s family in agony.

“Is this the kind of guy that law enforcement wants to put back on the street?” Cooper wondered. “And who is next? Somebody’s son, daughter, somebody’s aunt or uncle, father, mother because guys like that, they don’t change.”

“He gets to celebrate Valentine’s Day with his loved ones while I received the ashes of my brother,” said Narvie Johnson, Eric Johnson’s brother. “He’ll probably be celebrating a lot of holidays. Like I said, it’s a slap on the wrist.”

Johnson’s family is horrified by the way he died.

“Uncle Eric is gone. He’s dead. He didn’t die, he got killed,” said Cooper. “He got murdered. Dragged seven blocks.”

“One more block and he would have drove Eric to his house.”

Local 4 News went to Blackwood’s home to find out from him what happened that night, but he did not respond. The timing of Blackwood’s release makes this difficult time all that more unbearable.

“The day before yesterday I was sitting in front of a casket. A closed casket. I didn’t even have a chance to say goodbye to my younger brother,” said Johnson.

“The casket was closed because he was so mangled. He was so torn apart. All there was was a picture in front of a casket. This is literally all we have left.”

Johnson’s family says they won’t stop until they get one thing: Johnson’s family has hired two attorneys for the case to help them get justice.

“This ain’t over,” said Cooper. “We’re going to fight and fight in court to find justice for Eric.”

“One way or another, we will get justice.”

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