Man charged in crash that killed deputy accused of drinking alcohol while on pre-trial release

Judge to issue written decision on whether to reinstate pre-trial release

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Boynton Beach man who was charged with multiple crimes after a car crash that killed a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy last year appeared in court Friday, as he was accused of drinking alcohol while on pre-trial release.

Darran Johnson was outfitted with an ankle monitor after his arrest and was ordered not to consume alcohol.

But his attorney argued Friday that the device picks up mouth washes, perfumes and even alcohol in NyQuil.

The attorney said there was simply no way to prove that Johnson actually consumed an alcoholic beverage.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, are adamant that Johnson tampered with the alcohol-detection monitor.

Broward County Judge Andrew Siegal said he would review what was presented to him Friday by both sides in court and will issue a written decision on whether to reinstate Johnson’s pre-trial release.

Johnson faces more than a dozen charges, including vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter.

Investigators said he was behind the wheel of his Toyota Tundra when it crashed into Deputy Benjamin Nimtz's marked patrol car in Deerfield Beach.

According to detectives, Nimtz was responding to a call to assist other deputies who were called to a domestic dispute around 3 a.m. July 21.

Investigators said Nimtz had his emergency lights on as he was heading south on Military Trail approaching the intersection of Southwest 10th Street.

As the deputy entered the intersection, Johnson ran the red light and crashed into the passenger side of Nimtz’s patrol car, authorities said.

Nimtz and Johnson were both taken to Broward Health North after the crash. Nimtz died at the hospital.

Records show Johnson has a lengthy history of driving infractions, from driving with a suspended license to running lights, in nearly every county in South Florida.

About the Authors:

Jeff Weinsier joined Local 10 News in September 1994. He is currently an investigative reporter for Local 10. He is also responsible for the very popular Dirty Dining segments.

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