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Woman guilty of reckless homicide in Great River Bridge crash

Court news from Tri States Public Radio.

A Gladstone woman was found guilty on Friday of reckless homicide in the 2022 deaths of two construction workers on the Great River Bridge.

Emily Johnson, now 23, was westbound and using her cell phone when her car struck a barrel on the bridge, then the two workers, on the morning of Oct. 18, 2022.

Pearson Franklin, 20, of New London, and Andrew Whitcomb, 35, of Burnside, were setting barrels on U.S. Route 34 over the Mississippi River when they were struck and killed.

Johnson was initially charged in Henderson County with improper passing of a stationary emergency vehicle, improper use of an electronic communication device, and failure to reduce speed.

Two counts each of reckless homicide and aggravated use of a communication device were filed several months later.

The case was prosecuted by Appellate Prosecutor Brian Towne.

Following a bench trial, Ninth Circuit Judge James Baber found Johnson guilty of reckless homicide and aggravated use of a communication device.

However, enhanced charges of reckless homicide in a construction zone were dismissed because signs had not yet been posted on the bridge.

Johnson will be sentenced May 9 in Henderson County.

Jane Carlson is TSPR's regional reporter.