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'He was a super productive man in society': Louisville man killed in I-264 crash remembered by coach

Dominique Johnson, 33, died after the crash early Sunday morning. The driver faces several charges including murder.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The woman charged in Sunday's deadly crash on I-264 is now being held on a $100,000 bond. 

Maria Gibson, 42, was taken into custody early Sunday. According to an arrest citation, she was charged with murder and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, among other charges.  

Gibson pleaded not guilty Monday, and a judge set her bond at $100,000. 

According to LMPD, Gibson was operating her vehicle on I-264 East near Breckenridge Lane when she struck another vehicle at a high rate of speed.

This caused the second vehicle to become engulfed in flames, preventing the driver, later identified as 33-year-old Dominique Johnson, from exiting. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Monday, WHAS11 News spoke with Johnson's high school basketball coach, who said he was a standout player at Waggener High School in the early 2000's. 

Danny Edelen coached there for several years and is now the Dean of Students at Barret Traditional Middle School. 

In his first year as head coach at Waggener, he met Johnson, then in the 8th grade. 

“He has this confidence, he didn’t weight 100 pounds soaking wet and he said 'I’m Dominique Johnson and I’m going to be the starting point guard here one day," Edelen said. 

When he did join the team, Edelen said Johnson was charismatic, dedicated and eager to learn. He earned the nickname "Little General" because of his passion and energy for the game. 

"You’re not supposed to have favorites, but he was just a coach's dream,” Edelen said. 

Years later, Edelen and Johnson reconnected when he was on the cusp of becoming a father. 

Edelen said he could tell Johnson's first two children, daughters, had him wrapped around their fingers. He said Johnson called him up again, when he had his third, a little boy. 

“He was like 'Coach I need the code, I just had my son I’m gonna make sure he’s a baller,'" Edelen said. 

When he got the news of Johnson's death, Edelen said his mind went immediately to his kids. 

“He was going to be a great father raising them, I can’t even comprehend it yet," he said. "Not even him being gone, but just his little ones and the missed opportunities of being around their dad.”

Edelen wants people to remember Johnson for his perseverance and dedication. He said Johnson's life was all about overcoming obstacles, and he did that with a smile on his face. 

“All the quotes you hear about perseverance he just was," Edelen said. "It doesn’t matter about the wins and losses, it’s about he was a super productive man in society and an amazing father."  

Contact reporter Grace McKenna at GMcKenna@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter.

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