Suit filed against woman convicted in hit-and-run

MAYVILLE — A lawsuit has been filed against a Busti woman sentenced to prison for manslaughter stemming from an April 2018 hit-and-run incident in Randolph that killed a Chautauqua County man.

Marylou Johnson, 74, was named in the lawsuit filed Tuesday in state Supreme Court in Chautauqua County. In September, Johnson was sentenced to 2 to 6 years in state prison following a conviction on a second-degree manslaughter charge for her role in the death of 47-year-old Busti resident Wilfredo Colon-Rodriguez.

The incident occurred April 15, 2018, off Swanson Hill Road in the town of Randolph in Cattaraugus County. According to the Olean Times Herald, Colon-Rodriguez and Johnson were returning to their homes in Busti after drinking at a friend’s home in Randolph and at several bars in the Jamestown and Kennedy areas earlier in the day.

Colon-Rodriguez reportedly made a wrong turn onto Swanson Hill Road and got stuck in some mud. Johnson is then believed to have run Colon-Rodriguez over as he was attempting to free the vehicle.

Johnson then left the scene, and Colon-Rodriguez’s body was later found by a passing ATV rider.

The State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation took Johnson into custody in September 2018 on charges of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter, second-degree assault, driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident without reporting serious injury. Johnson pleaded guilty to the lone manslaughter charge in June of last year as part of a plea agreement between the Cattaraugus County District Attorney’s Office and her defense.

The lawsuit was filed by Buffalo attorney Taylor Golba of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria LLP on behalf of Colon-Rodriguez’s estate, located in Bradford, Pa. Golba did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

“Upon information and belief, the alleged incident, hereinbefore described, was caused as a result of the negligent, careless, reckless and unlawful conduct on the part of the defendant, Mary Lou Johnson,” the suit states.

The lawsuit, which states that Colon-Rodriguez left two surviving children, is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

“The decedent’s next of kin were, upon information and belief, dependent on the decedent for support, maintenance, nurture, comfort, advice, aid and society, which they are now deprived of as a result of the aforesaid incident,” the lawsuit states. “As a result of the aforesaid incident, medical, funeral and burial expenses have been incurred.”

Johnson is currently serving her sentence at the Albion Correctional Facility.