Harrisburg reacts to guilty plea after crash kills beloved teacher

1 year 3 months 1 day 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
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Children in St. Louis have been the victim of homicides at 10 times the national rate... More >>
44 minutes ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 9:34:54 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he is reversing his plan to hold the next Group of Seven world... More >>
59 minutes ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 9:19:49 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Police were seen searching the area near the scene of a crash Saturday afternoon. Police responded to... More >>
1 hour ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 8:31:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Community members came together Saturday for a Walk and Roll-A-Thon in recognition of Disability Employment Awareness Month. ... More >>
5 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 5:11:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Demonstrators rallied at Speakers Circle on Saturday for the first ever National Period Day. Organizers said they... More >>
6 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 3:47:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Community members got the chance to challenge Columbia police officers in their favorite video games during the department's... More >>
6 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 3:41:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Grassroots organizations are working across Missouri to persuade gun-related business owners to join efforts to limit... More >>
6 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 3:37:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
SALINE COUNTY — Three Saline County children abducted in 2017 were found in Arlington, Texas on Thursday, according to the... More >>
8 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 2:15:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - One Lincoln man is dead following a crash between a motorcycle and a tractor-trailer Friday night on... More >>
9 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 1:19:00 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Water and Light department said it believes all power has been restored in Columbia. About... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 10:05:00 AM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
MARSHALL - The suspect in a pair of shootings in early October has been caught out of state, police announced... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 9:10:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
CALIFORNIA - A man heard his sentence on Friday after killing a 20-year-old three years ago for drunk driving. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 6:31:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Below are scores from football games around mid-Missouri. Final scores are in bold. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 6:06:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in Friday Night Fever
COLUMBIA —The University of Missouri issued a statement Friday that the MU Department of Theatre was "in error" when it... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 5:52:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Friday Night Fever’s Week 8 Game of the Week features a dominant Helias (6-1) visited by a surging... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 5:44:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in Friday Night Fever
COLUMBIA — The True False Film Festival and Ragtag Cinema are dissolving their relationship with Columbia church The Crossing. Cinema... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 5:33:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Springfield Mayor Ken McClure hosted a group for a strategy session that included Governor Mike Parson in October.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 4:18:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY - The extent of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' leg injury sustained during the team's Thursday night... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 3:07:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in Sports
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 54°
11pm 52°
12am 51°
1am 50°
2am 50°