ND Michael Johnson

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 29, 2008

North Delta 3-sport student loses life in car accident

Commentary by Angie Ledbetter

Shock waves went through the community early Sunday morning as news spread that another teenager had died in an automobile accident in Panola county.

Michael Johnson, a 17-year -old student at North Delta School was killed around 1:30 a.m. in a car accident in Sardis where he and one of his friends were on their way home.

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Johnson was killed instantly and his friend, Rodriquez Thomas, was airlifted to the Med in Memphis where he remains.

Johnson attended North Panola High School in Sardis until last summer when he and his parents made the decision to transfer to North Panola.

The Johnson family decision came after a lot of soul searching and praying about bettering the education for Michael and his two younger sisters, Victoria and Sarah.

Even though it was tough to leave behind the surroundings that he had been accustomed to for years, Michael knew in his heart that it was the best thing for him, according to his father Michael Sr. He wanted to improve his grades and his chances of continuing his education at a higher level.

It was never a problem for him. Being the Michael that everyone knew, he was very easy to adjust to anything. He never looked back. He kept that smile on his face and that personality that everyone knew and went forward. Everyone at North Delta welcomed him and his family with open arms.

He kept close ties with all of his friends at North Panola while he made several close friends at North Delta. Everyone at North Delta loved him. His personality grew on principals, teachers, classmates, and coaches.

Johnson was a big part of the North Delta Green Wave football team where he played many positions during this past fall. He proudly wore his No. 2 Green Wave jersey every Friday night and he played with his heart and soul. He gave it all he had on the field. The 6’3”, 185 pounder played wide receiver, quarterback, kicker, defensive back and kick-off return. He would play wherever the coaching staff needed him.

His passion for football had made him a very happy young man. He was offered a full football scholarship at Alcorn State University and a football scholarship at Delta State University. His plans had included a visit to Alcorn with his parents last week. Those plans had to be reschueled due to his uncle’s death in Chicago. His new plans were to visit Alcorn this week with his parents after they returned from his uncle’s funeral.

Johnson not only played football, he played basketball and was looking forward to playing baseball.

He loved playing on the Green Wave varsity basketball team. His last game was Thursday night as the Green Wave team hosted Winona Christian. At that game, he scored a career-high 22 points, had eight rebounds, and three blocks to help get the 67-51 victory for his team.     

His next game was to be on Friday night against Delta Academy, but due to weather, it was postponed.

Last night’s games were played after much consideration and talking with Michael’s family.

After driving eight hours from Chicago on Sunday afternoon, Michael Johnson Sr. spoke with his son’s friends, teammates, classmates, teachers and coaches in the North Delta School gym about Michael’s love for North Delta and everyone there.

As a Christian, he stood before a gym full of very sad and emotional people and told them about his son.

He wanted everyone to know just how happy Michael had been. He told everyone that their faith in God was going to get them through all of this. He wanted everyone to pull together and he wanted everyone to know that Michael loved each and everyone at North Delta School.

Johnson also told the basketball teams to play the game on Monday night because Michael would want them to play. He assured the teams he and the entire Johnson family would be there for support and so would Michael.

As the gathered ate lunch, everyone had Michael stories to tell. And you can believe that every story would end with a Michael Johnson smile because he made everyone smile every single day at North Delta School.

Michael is the son of Michael and Odessa Johnson of Sardis. He leaves behind two bothers Christian and A.J. and two sisters Victoria and Sarah, and his grandmother, Della Mae Washington Black, all of Sardis

Visitation will be held Saturday at Wells Funeral Home from 5 to 8 p.m. and the funeral will be at North Delta School at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Wells Funeral Home has charge of arrangements.