Family and friends remember Regan Johnson

FRESNO, Calif.

Authorities arrested 26-year-old Alyssa Marie Villanueva of Fresno. They say she and her step-father tried to cover up the crime. Villanueva faces charges of homicide, driving under the influence, leaving the scene of the crime, and driving with a suspended license.

Regan Johnson's boyfriend Thomas Reel said she never wanted to work at an overnight construction site, but she did to help a friend. As for the woman the CHP claims is responsible for Regan's death, she has a previous DUI charge and had lost her license to drive.

Thomas Reel's girlfriend of six months, Regan Johnson, was killed by a hit and run driver early Wednesday morning. "She brought a lot out of me. I'm a different man because of her."

Reel still can't believe the love of his life, Regan Johnson, is gone. "Just that initial -- everything's bliss, everything's amazing, I never thought it'd go away."

Sean Duncan with the California Highway Patrol said, "This vehicle was traveling northbound 99 it was seen as far south as Olive driving in the closed lanes -- the lanes closed off for the construction zone, passing the vehicle in the open number three lane."

Regan was working inside a construction zone on Highway 99 when she was killed. The Highway Patrol said Alyssa Villanueva was driving a Nissan when she struck and killed Regan. The damaged car was found several hours and several miles away when a neighbor her apartment complex called police to report it.

The CHP said Villanueva called her step-father Antonio Rios, Jr. to come help her. They said that's when the license plates were removed and the car was covered with a tarp.

Neighbors in the complex say she has several children, but they don't know her very well.

"We're good people, we don't deserve this, no one does," said Reel, "She didn't care. There's no respect, there's no responsibility in the world anymore."

Friends say Regan was a kind and loving young lady. She graduated from Kingsburg High School and Fresno State with plans to become a teacher -- plans that will never be realized.

"There's no way to talk to her, hug her, hold her, kiss her, tell her how much I really love her. I never got to say to her face that I love her. But she knew," said Reel.

Cal Trans said construction on the highway project has been suspended until the CHP completes their investigation. Villanueva is still in jail -- her step father was cited and released earlier Wednesday.

Regan's friends are planning a candle light vigil for 9 p.m. Thursday night at Memorial Park in Kingsburg.

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