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  #1  
Old 06-14-2007, 11:03 PM
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heres the article on the crash

The Arizona Republic
Jun. 12, 2007 11:35 AM

"Da Kool-Aid King'" brought nonstop joy to those around him, until what brought him joy ended his life.

Thomas "TJ" Johnson, 21, died after his motorcycle hit the back of an SUV near Val Vista and McLellan roads Saturday evening.

"I still don't believe it, it's just like a bad dream," said Jared Walker, 17, of Mesa. "Getting the call, I was at work and I just thought it was a joke."

Sunday night, hundreds of TJ's friends, many from Red Mountain High School where he graduated in 2005, gathered at the crash site to mourn.

The next morning, they got to work. Family and friends held a carwash in east Mesa to raise money to help Johnson's family with funeral expenses.

According to police, Johnson was one of two motorcycle riders southbound when a 2005 Chevy Tahoe headed the same way moved into the two-way left turn lane.

Johnson hit the rear end of the SUV sending his 2001 Honda bike out of control.

Walker and Johnson had been friends for years, and he described him as fun-loving and always happy.

"He was goofy as hell, always smiling no matter what. He had no enemies, nobody could hate TJ. Even if you tried, you couldn't hate him," Walker said.

His big smile helped land him the nickname "Kool-Aid" in high school. And it didn't hurt that he loved the stuff.

"He had a whole glove compartment full of Kool-Aid," said Sean Jeff, 20, who met Johnson at Red Mountain when they were sophomores.

On his Myspace.com page, Johnson's name reads "TJ Da Kool-Aid King."

Walker insists Johnson "wanted to get a tattoo of the Kool-Aid man on his back."

Kim Kossmeyer, who works with Johnson's mother, Dee Herron, said she received a call from the hospital at about 11 p.m. Saturday and was shocked to hear the news.

"I don't think it has really sunk in for her, I don't think she's had time to grieve," Kossmeyer said.

TJ was the oldest of Herron's four children and she is trying to stay strong for her other kids, Kossmeyer said.

TJ's brother, 14-year-old DeAndre, said TJ taught him just about everything he knows from how to ride a bike and tie his shoes to how to rap.

"When I wake up in the morning, I look over (to his bed across from me) to see if he is there," DeAndre said.

A "hustla" is the word DeAndre and TJ's friends liked to use when talking about TJ's love for cars.

"He'd see a car (for sale) on the street that he wanted, he'd find a way to get the money, call them up and tell them to save it for him," DeAndre and Walker said.

DeAndre said TJ got his first car then began trading cars for cars and hooking them up with high-end sound systems.

Working off and on at the Chronic Car Audio on Power Road just south of University Drive, fixing up cars and trading or selling them became his main passion. Walker said TJ hoped make a business out of it one day.

Herron said her son traded a car for the motorcycle the same day he died.

DeAndre said she told TJ to stop riding motorcycles, "but he felt a need for speed and was hard-headed."

"He listened to her most of the time, but biking was just something he loved," DeAndre said. "He told me he wanted to be buried with his bike."


he traded his car to my brother for my brothers bike
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Old 06-15-2007, 07:01 PM
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Did you know him personally? if so i'm sorry for your loss....
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Old 06-15-2007, 09:36 PM
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yea, we have all been friends for years. he wanted my brothers bike so they traded. his 9x lexus for the bike
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Old 06-16-2007, 07:25 PM
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damn, i'm really sorry to hear that man. I had a very good friend die almost two years ago due to a free-diving accident. We too had asked him to be more carefull and warned him of the risks, but it was his passion and he would not listen. I hope you find peace in knowing that he died doing what he loved, I know that certainly helped me. I wish you and your friends the best, and will not offer any more advice as i'm sure your tired of it by now.
Ryan
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