Hit-and-run turns fatal

U research associate Ethan Johnson was killed in a car accident at the age of 37.

Jennifer Bissell

Ethan Johnson, a research associate in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics, died early Tuesday. He was 37.
Johnson died after the car he was in was struck in a hit-and-run in south Minneapolis at the intersection of 18th Avenue South and 35th Street East, according to police.
The driver of the other car — who was arrested Tuesday — failed to stop at a stop sign and ran from the scene on foot, according to police.
Johnson’s parents and wife, who were also in the car, were transported to Hennepin County Medical Center for treatment after the accident.
Johnson’s 65-year-old father, Stephen Johnson, was still hospitalized in satisfactory condition as of Wednesday evening, according to HCMC. Johnson’s wife and mother sustained minor injuries.
Johnson had worked on various projects in Professor Claudia Schmidt-Dannert’s laboratory at the University of Minnesota since 2005.
 “He’s definitely going to be missed around here. He’s already missed,” co-worker Jacob Vick said. “He was a very integral part of the lab environment. He was one of the main reasons you liked working in Claudia’s lab.”
Johnson’s work has been published in several science journals, including in American Chemistry Society and American Society for Microbiology publications.
Outside of the lab, Johnson was busy in the arts community or enjoying the outdoors, Vick said. He played the cornet in the 11-piece band Brass Messengers and helped plan the Mayday parades with his wife, Xena Huff.
Johnson was also a puppeteer for BareBones arts community, said BareBones artist Brent Harring.
He was a hippie in the best way possible, Vick said. Johnson grew his own food, liked canoeing and rode his bike every day, even in the middle of winter.
 “[He was a] very kind, generous person,” Schmidt-Dannert said. “He was actually the one that everyone went to if they needed help.
“He had a fantastic sense of humor … It will take a couple weeks until things finally start quieting down and getting back.”
Friends of Johnson had a memorial bike ride on Lake Street to the site of the accident Wednesday night.