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Police: Wife of man killed on Lake Ave. charged with leaving scene of crash

On Thursday, investigators arrested 46-year-old Malachia Wallace-Johnson and charged her with multiple crimes, including leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident. (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - Rochester Police have arrested and charged the wife of the man killed in a crash on Lake Avenue last weekend.

On Thursday, investigators arrested 46-year-old Malachia Wallace-Johnson and charged her with multiple crimes, including leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident.

Police said on February 3, a car driving on Lake Avenue turned left onto Phelps Avenue and crashed into an oncoming car. The passenger of the first car, 50-year-old Maurice Johnson, had to be extricated by Rochester firefighters. He was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital with a leg injury, and later died at the hospital.

Wallace-Johnson, the driver of the first car and Maurice's wife, is accused of running from the scene. She turned herself over to police on Thursday.

Maurice's mother, Bernice Johnson, spoke with 13WHAM on Friday afternoon.

She says she wasn't surprised her daughter-in-law was the driver who ran from the scene.

"I sort of knew, because I knew they were together that day, and they were out taking care of business, so I knew they were together," said Bernice. "So when they told me about the accident, I kind of figured it was her."

She says Maurice and Wallace-Johnson had only been married for about three years. She admits she didn't know much about her.

But she says she spoke with her before she went to police.

"I was angry, and I told her this. I told her, ‘I am very angry at you,'" said Bernice. "But I’m glad she did that, and I didn’t have a whole lot of words. I’m not going to hold a grudge, because we have to learn to forgive."

Bernice said Maurice visited her at her home nearly every other day. She says she's still grasping the idea of Maurice not being able to visit and help her out with things.

"There’s some things I’m so used to - him coming every other day," said Bernice. "There was so many things he did, sometimes I forget that he’s not going to be there to do them, or I can’t call him - that's aggravating."

Bernice just says she is hopeful the arrest will help her find peace of mind.

"I’ll just be glad when it’s all over, so I can really get some closure," said Bernice. "And I can sit down and realize this is real, he isn’t coming through the door."

In addition to the leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident charge, Wallace-Johnson is charged with first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation and operating a motor vehicle without an interlock device. She had her driver's license suspended 21 times on seven different dates; her license had been revoked for a previous DWI.

More charges could be added by a Monroe County grand jury.

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