Woman killed when she ran through traffic was a Canton firefighter, paramedic

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AKRON, Ohio -- The woman who died after jumping from an SUV and running through traffic Monday was a mother of three and a Canton firefighter and paramedic.

That's according to a statement released by the Canton Fire Department Tuesday morning.

The statement is as follows:

"The Canton, Ohio Fire Department has suffered a tremendous loss. Firefighter/paramedic Tonya Johnson passed away last night as the result of a car vs. pedestrian accident in Summit County. Our condolences and sympathy are with her family at this time. Tonya came on the job May 18, 1998. She was an excellent firefighter / paramedic and served the City well. She is survived by her 2 sons and 1 daughter. Services will be determined at a later date."

Johnson had been with the fire department for 18 years. The department is bringing in a chaplain Wednesday, on what would have been her first shift since the accident.

"Hearts and prayers are with the family," said Canton fire Chief Thomas Garra. "Our spirits are broken right now. When I think of Tonya, I think of her resilient smile. Just a positive, happy person and very bright. Tonya was a fantastic firefighter and paramedic. She had a heart for the job always with a smile on her face."

Police say Johnson, 43, was riding with her husband around 3:30 p.m. Monday when she suddenly jumped out of their moving SUV.

Police say the argument the couple was having was more of a discussion over which route they should take home. They were heading home from Cleveland. Johnson's husband pulled over so they could choose a route and, without any warning, she opened the door, got out, walked behind the SUV, and darted across traffic.

She was then hit by a Nissan pick-up truck and was killed instantly.  About 10 cars were involved in fender benders in the incident, but no one else was seriously injured.

A large portion of state Route 8 between Tallmadge and Howe avenues shut down for hours while officers examined the accident scene.

Police say it's inappropriate to speculate on a motive for Johnson's actions. She and her husband had been married for about three weeks.

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