Former Marblehead elected official struck on Pleasant Street dies

A former Marblehead elected official who was struck by a vehicle last month has died, police said Tuesday.

Karl Johnson, 80, died Sunday after being hospitalized since the Oct. 27 crash, according to police.

Karl A. Johnson

The collision occurred around 6 p.m. on Pleasant Street between two crosswalks near Smith Street and Mohawk Road. Johnson was taken to Beth Israel Hospital following the crash.

Police said the driver involved remained at the scene and has cooperated with the investigation. The cause remains under investigation by Marblehead Police, the Essex County District Attorney’s Office and the Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section.

“Our focus is twofold at this time: first, to ensure privacy and supportive services to the Johnson family; second, to conduct a complete and thorough investigation with our partnering agencies,” police said in a statement Tuesday.

Additional information will be released as the ongoing investigation allows, police said.

The department announced Johnson’s death after being notified by the State Medical Examiner’s Office. No further details were immediately released.

Johnson was last elected to the Light Commission in the 2022 election but stepped down days later citing health reasons.

“Karl reluctantly had to resign from the Board due to health concerns,” said Light Commissioner Mike Hull. “It was a great loss to the board as well as the customers of MMLD. As I said in my letter to the board informing them of Karl’s passing, he was talented in many facets of his life, but he was even a better human, and I am honored to have called him my friend.”

Johnson had also served six years on the Planning Board, according to his obituary.

“He provided consistent leadership and support on important board decisions, from adding new solar PV, wind and hydro power to the MMLD power portfolio, to approving important capital projects that will be crucial improve the resiliency of our town’s electric distribution system for decades to come,” Light Department General Manager Joe Kowalik told the Marblehead Current on Tuesday. “Karl was a one-of-a-kind, true friend of the department, who wore multiple hats in his efforts to move the department forward.”

When Johnson joined the Marblehead Light Commission in 2018, Hull said he brought “a common-sense approach.”

“He would always do a deep dive into any subject matter, which as the chair was a great help to me,” Hull told the Current. “But more important was his welcoming, open demeanor that made everyone from board members to the public feel at ease.”

A celebration of Johnson’s life will be held Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Gerry 5 club in Marblehead. In lieu of flowers, his family suggests donations to Project Knitwell, a nonprofit that provides clothing and blankets to those in need.

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