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Woman now charged with homicide in bridge crash

Blue and red lights with the text fatal accident and the Tri States Public Radio logo.
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New charges have been filed against the woman accused of fatally striking two construction workers with her vehicle on the Great River Bridge last fall.

Emily Johnson, 21, of Gladstone now faces two counts of reckless homicide and two counts of aggravated unlawful use of an electronic communication device.

She was earlier charged with improper passing of a stationary emergency vehicle, improper use of an electronic communication device, and failure to reduce speed.

Pearson Franklin, 20, of New London and Andrew Whitcomb, 35, of Burnside died in the crash. They were setting barrels on the Illinois side of the bridge over the Mississippi River on the morning of October 18, 2022, when Johnson reportedly struck a barrel before hitting them.

Johnson is free on bond.

Her next court appearance is scheduled for May 3.

In a release, Henderson County State’s Attorney Rachel Mast said that to avoid any appearance of impropriety or conflict, she asked the Appellate Prosecutor’s Office to handle the prosecution.

The case was assigned to Special Prosecutor Brian Towne.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.