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January 08, 2024

Norristown mom who crashed her van into SEPTA bus, killing her infant, charged with homicide

Arbetina Johnson-Lowery, 35, allegedly was driving under the influence of several drugs at the time of the Sept. 30 crash in East Norriton

Investigations Homicides
SEPTA Bus Crash Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Arbetina Johnson-Lowery, 35, of Norristown, is charged with homicide by vehicle, DUI and related offenses in connection to a Sept. 30 car crash that killed her 1-year-old son. Johnson-Lowery allegedly was speeding when she struck a car in front of her and then crashed into a stopped SEPTA bus.

The woman who crashed her minivan into a stopped SEPTA bus in East Norriton last September, killing her 1-year-old son, has been charged with homicide by vehicle and driving under the influence, Montgomery County prosecutors said Monday.

Arbetina Johnson-Lowery, 35, of Norristown, allegedly was speeding on East Johnson Highway on Sept. 30 when she her Mazda minivan struck a car in front of her, investigators said. The van then struck the driver's side of the SEPTA bus, which had stopped near Old Arch Road. 

Witnesses who rushed to the scene found the 14-month old boy suffering from severe injuries on the back floor of the minivan. He was transported to Suburban Hospital in Norristown and later flown to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where he died of blunt injuries to the head, police said.

Johnson-Lowery, who had to be extracted from the wreckage, suffered multiple injuries, authorities said. The SEPTA bus driver suffered a knee injury.

Blood tests revealed Johnson-Lowery allegedly was driving under the influence of multiple substances including methamphetamine, cocaine, a small amount of alcohol and a sedative.

Two empty bottles of whiskey and a cigarette box that contained partially smoked marijuana joints and a foil packet of cocaine allegedly were found in the minivan. Authorities also said the infant's car seat did not have properly-fitted restraints.

Investigators said Johnson-Lowery was traveling between 47-50 mph in a 35-mph zone at the time of the collision. Her driver's license had been suspended since 2018 and the registration on her Mazda had been suspended in 2021 after she canceled her insurance, prosecutors said.

Johnson-Lowery turned herself in to authorities Friday. She has been charged with homicide by vehicle–DUI, DUI, accidents involving death while not properly licensed and five counts of recklessly endangering another person.