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Hit-and-Run Suspect was Involved in High School Sex Scandal

UPDATE: Ex-football coach Matthew Johnstone is accused of leaving the scene of a crash that killed Old Bethpage man, dog.

Matthew Johnstone of North Massapequa is accused of leaving the scene of a fatal crash Thursday that killed an Old Bethpage man.
Matthew Johnstone of North Massapequa is accused of leaving the scene of a fatal crash Thursday that killed an Old Bethpage man.
Story Written By Joe Dowd and Jason Molinet

The Massapequa suspect accused of the hit-and-run death of an Old Bethpage man and his dog was once a teacher involved in a high-profile sex scandal involving one of his students, Patch has learned.


Matthew Johnstone, 37, of North Massapequa, a former East Islip gym teacher, resigned five years ago after one of his students claimed he had an affair with her.

Now an X-ray specialist at Huntington Hospital, Johnstone surrendered to police about an hour after running down Robert Michels and his dog, Sparky, on Round Swamp Road, authorities said.

The North Massapequa suspect returned in his battered pick-up truck along with his future father-in-law, a retired New York City detective, News 12 reported.

Patch has learned that, in 2008, Johnstone, the top football assistant from 1998-2008 at East Islip, resigned under pressure following an alleged relationship with one of his female students.

His victim, then 18-year-old Rachel Primm, later filed a $40 million law suit alleging she suffered severe mental anguish following the affair. It is not clear if the case was settled out of court.

Johnstone, a 1994 East Islip graduate and former All-Long Island and All-State football star, attended Georgia Tech on a football scholarship, but never played. He resigned his teaching license at the time and is barred from teaching again.

The hit-and-run victim, Michels, 42, was walking along Round Swamp Road with his husky/lab mix in Old Bethpage at around midnight Thursday. They were left along the roadway and found by neighbors. Michels was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The dog died at the scene.

Johnstone's lawyer told a judge that the suspect was returning from his shift as an X-ray specialist at Huntington Hospital at the time. The lawyer said Johnstone realized he had hit "something."

It remains unclear why he didn't stop. In a News 12 interview, the lawyer, who was not identified, said Johnstone was "obviously not intoxicated, not impaired," and returned to the scene a short time after the incident.

Johnstone is charged with leaving the scene of an accident and was being held on $20,000 bond.
LS September 20, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Note to future father-in-law: is this the sort of guy you want your daughter to marry?
brawlin betty September 20, 2013 at 05:01 PM
He sounds like great marriage material! jeeze!
Cheryl September 21, 2013 at 10:05 AM
Isn't this a little more than "leaving the scene of an accident?" Isn't there some vehicular homicide involved here? Hit and Run and involuntary manslaughter or whatever?
Dorothy A Whalen September 21, 2013 at 06:15 PM
This story certainly has changed somewhat. The first report was a different auto he was driving, and it did give the name of his lawyer, a well known name in certain circles. Sounds a bit fishy to me, meanwhile that young man is being mourned by family and friends, those who knew him from school and the neighborhood. Can't even walk your dog, now, with the speed demons on our once quiet and peaceful roads. Very sad indeed.

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