Johnny Danger's parents remember their son a year after his passing

News 26/04/2019

For the family of Johnny 'Danger' Bennett, Anzac Day will forever hold a different meaning.

Yesterday marked 12 months since the passing of Johnny, who came off his motorbike on Dairy Flat Highway and fatally struck a power pole one year ago.

Paramedics did their best to revive the 29-year-old, but he had stopped breathing.

Johnny's mother Gina recalled to Newshub being on the phone to his father Steven at the time of the accident. Steven asked which hospital to drive to and who was there. 

"I said 'it's Johnny' and then I paused and said 'I don't think he's made it,'" Gina said.

"We both just broke down sobbing."

Johnny's parents remembered their son in an intimate interview with Newshub.

"Happy and fun loving, he always cheered everyone up," Gina said. 

A gifted athlete, Johnny was a talented skateboarder, runner, gymnast and rugby player as a youngster.

Johnny and his father Steven got to spend quality time together at Spring Hill Prison after a 21st birthday party got out of hand.

Johnny was hit first and retaliated. As a result of the altercation Steven was jailed for nine months and Johnny for 15.

"Everybody loved Johnny at Spring Hill," Gina joked. "He was a model prisoner - he got everyone into working out."

"We were celled up together because we had such good records," Steven said. "Co-offenders weren't even meant to see each other."

It wasn't long after getting out of prison that a video of Johnny car surfing across Auckland's Harbour Bridge went viral and his career as an amateur stuntman and social media sensation started to take off.

His parents admitted to Newshub they didn't realise just how many people Johnny made laugh, helped, befriended and connected with in the years following.

When he passed, Johnny had more than 214,000 followers on Instagram, 316,000 on Facebook and hosted a popular Snapchat channel with close to one million subscribers.

"I'd look over and he'd be filming and I'd say 'oh you little shit', get that bloody camera off me'," Gina recalled.

Johnny's videos struck a chord with a diverse and international crowd of young people keen for a laugh.

"He always hated bullies," Gina said. "He always looked after kids that were left out. He'd turn a bully into a real good bugger straight away."

Gina and Steve expressed great pride in their son and the good he was able to create during his short life.

"He always thought of others first. Always had his mates' backs and they knew it too. He loved to get out and do and have good time," Steven said.

"He could make person confident with in themselves. He turned a lot of misfits into confident people. And he had skill and capabilities to turn a bully into a nice person.

"I'm a very proud father."

Read the full story on Newshub.