Nina Howard's boyfriend: "She was my girlfriend. I love her."

Nina Howard's boyfriend: "She was my girlfriend. I love her." »Play Video
KENNEWICK, Wash. -- KEPR is continuing to follow the fatal accident that killed a Kennewick woman Tuesday afternoon. Court documents say street racing may have led to the death of 52-year-old Nina Howard. The man who hit her is being held on suspicion of vehicular homicide. KEPR spoke to family and friends of the woman killed.

Nina Howard's friend and boyfriend stared in awe at the white paint left behind on West 27th. It marks the spot on the pavement where Nina took her last breath.

"It is very sad. It's so sad," said Nina's friend Julie Phaxay.

The 52-year old Kennewick woman was a volunteer at the Tao Buddhist Temple.

"She come to the temple every day, almost every day," said her boyfriend, Bounxou Xaysy.

He shared pictures, and memories.

"I know Nina 2 year ago, Nina, she's my girlfriend. I love her, but she passed away yesterday," he said.

KEPR spoke with one of Nina's sons, Andy, who told us his mom was just trying to leave the temple, get across the street and walk down to the bus stop to get a ride home. He said his mom was always helpful and put others before herself.

Nina was a longtime member of First Lutheran Church in Kennewick.

Nina never made it to the bus stop. She crossed on West 27th near South Ely. There is no crosswalk there.

But the man accused of hitting her was "reckless," according to one witness. More than one person described to police a street race between Michael Johnson and his 18-year-old son. Aaron Johnson told police his dad may have been going 70 mph in a 40-mph zone at the time the woman was struck.

"The impact was fatal. She was pronounced dead at the scene by the paramedics," said Kennewick Police Department Sgt. Ken Lattin.

Michael Johnson is being held on suspicion of vehicular homicide. The 46-year-old Kennewick man told police he had taken lithium a couple hours before the accident and smoked marijuana in oil form the night before. Prosecutors will decide if he should be held liable for hitting Howard as she crossed the busy road.

"I came home and I just make a phone call to her son, and then that's for real. I said, 'Is that true that's your mom got in a car accident?' And then he said 'Yes.' And then he can't talk that much because he's just crying," said Phaxay.

"She's a good person, she's a good person," said Xaysy.