Harrisburg reacts to guilty plea after crash kills beloved teacher

3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago Wednesday, July 18 2018 Jul 18, 2018 Wednesday, July 18, 2018 4:57:00 PM CDT July 18, 2018 in News
By: Blake Sammann, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

HARRISBURG - A town rocked by tragedy continues to heal after the man responsible for the car crash that killed a popular teacher pleaded guilty Wednesday.

27-year-old Brandon Brill pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and assault after being arrested for causing a 2017 crash that killed Harrisburg teacher Brian Simpson and injured four students.

Brill was originally charged with second degree murder after police determined he was driving without a valid license for the third time.

Now ten months removed from the tragedy, Harrisburg residents are looking back at Simpson's life and the profound affect he had on the community. 

Cortney Franklin played baseball under Simpson, winning two district titles in 2013 and 2013. Growing up without a dad, Franklin said Simpson was a great father figure and taught him important lessons.

"A lot of what I learned from him was just watching him live his life. He was an incredible father, an amazing husband,"  Franklin said. "He taught me what it meant to have integrity, no matter what we were doing he always stressed having integrity and doing the right thing and being a good person all around."   

Hearing Wednesday's news about Brill, Franklin said he couldn't help but recall the biggest lessons Coach Simpson taught him: those of grace and improvement.

"I think the biggest thing for me is not what he's being punished for or what they're calling it or charging him with, it's that he's using this mistake to learn from it an improve his life and the way he impacts others," he said. "I've made lots of mistakes in my life so I can't possibly imagine what he's feeling from his mistake, feeling responsible for ending another human being's life."

16-year-old Jacob Weber is a former student of Simpson's. Weber said Simpson was his favorite teacher and always found a way to make class fun.

"He was amazing. He was there for everyone. He could help you with any problems you had. You could talk to him about anything," he said.

Franklin said Simpson's death left a hole in the Harrisburg community.

"He impacted so many peoples lives in so many different ways, as a coach as a teacher, as a friend, as a father. He was just super impactful for this community," he said. 

Weber said although it's been hard, the community is starting to heal.

"They all seem to be doing a little better around here. Since then we've all gotten used to it. You know we still struggle a little bit with it," Weber said.

"We're still just trying to fill that void. It's pretty big shoes to fill," Franklin said.

Brill's sentencing date has not been yet been set.

More News

Grid
List
JOPLIN (AP) — A Missouri organizer for a medical marijuana initiative is suing to remove two other related initiatives from... More >>
34 minutes ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 7:18:59 PM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Voters will now be able to decide whether or not they approve of a gas tax increase,... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 6:37:00 PM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A judge ruled against Traveler Indemnity Company in a lawsuit stemming from Ryan Ferguson's wrongful prosecution and conviction... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 5:24:00 PM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The Indiana woman who lost nine members of her family in a duck boat sinking last month in... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 4:56:00 PM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A new state law on temporary license permits is just two weeks away from being enforced. The... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 4:02:00 PM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
VERSAILLES - The Morgan County Sheriff's Office said a man died from a gunshot wound on Sunday, and Versailles police... More >>
6 hours ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 1:45:00 PM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - With school starting today for Columbia Public Schools students, some construction projects are finished while others are just... More >>
6 hours ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 1:44:00 PM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
Jefferson City - One person was injured in a car crash on the Missouri River Bridge on Tuesday. The... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 11:48:00 AM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - An Osage County judge ruled in favor of Missouri Secretary of State Jay Aschroft on Tuesday in... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 11:34:43 AM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
BEVIER - The Missouri State Highway Patrol is investigating a deputy-involved shooting in Macon County. The man whom a... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 10:32:00 AM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
MEXICO - Authorities responded to several small fires along railroad tracks running through town on Monday. Norfolk Southern Railroad... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 9:59:00 AM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
TAOS, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on 11 children found living in a filthy, makeshift compound in New Mexico (all... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 8:06:00 AM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska is preparing to carry out its first execution since 1997 on Tuesday in a bewildering... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 6:06:00 AM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill says she supports measures on Missouri's November ballot to increase the state's... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 5:58:00 AM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
AUDRAIN COUNTY - A man who found a dog "hopping" along Highway 54 with his legs and muzzle taped says... More >>
22 hours ago Monday, August 13 2018 Aug 13, 2018 Monday, August 13, 2018 9:47:00 PM CDT August 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Public Schools Board of Education unanimously approved a 9-cent increase in the operating tax rate ceiling... More >>
23 hours ago Monday, August 13 2018 Aug 13, 2018 Monday, August 13, 2018 8:00:00 PM CDT August 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Mugs Up Drive In's manager said the restaurant is back in tiptop shape after a power line accident... More >>
1 day ago Monday, August 13 2018 Aug 13, 2018 Monday, August 13, 2018 6:49:00 PM CDT August 13, 2018 in News
MACON – A viral tweet is prompting the Missouri State Highway Patrol to warn people to call 911 if they... More >>
1 day ago Monday, August 13 2018 Aug 13, 2018 Monday, August 13, 2018 6:20:00 PM CDT August 13, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 78°
8pm 75°
9pm 73°
10pm 73°
11pm 73°