I-57 Bradley bridge crash

The closed section of Bradley Avenue between Bluegrass Lane and Interstate 57 is shown Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, after police said a woman drove through the signs and off the end of the bridge in the distance, which is being reconstructed.

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URBANA — After hearing about the serious injuries to her passengers and her blood-alcohol content, a Champaign County judge Wednesday ruled there was plenty of evidence to try Ashia Marshall on charges of aggravated driving under the influence.

Judge Ronda Holliman set a tentative trial date of Feb. 5 for the 28-year-old Champaign woman whose car plowed through a construction zone Sept. 3 on Bradley Avenue in west Champaign, went airborne off the end of an under-construction bridge and crashed into a barrier on the shoulder of Interstate 57 below.

In a probable-cause hearing that took seven minutes, Illinois State Trooper Kevin Caskey testified that after the 1:11 p.m. crash that Tuesday, he saw a Jeep Cherokee resting on the slope of a wall adjacent to the west side of I-57 and up against a temporary concrete barrier that kept it from rolling on to the highway.

“The Jeep went through the construction zone, airborne over the bridge abutment, then first touched on the sloped wall then (came to rest) against the concrete barrier,” Caskey said, answering questions from traffic prosecutor Brooke Hinman.

The construction zone, he said, was clearly marked.

“I smelled the strong odor of alcoholic beverage on her breath,” he said.

At the hospital, a blood draw revealed Marshall’s blood-alcohol content was 0.225 — almost three times the limit at which an Illinois motorist is presumed intoxicated.

Caskey said injuries to one of Marshall’s passengers, Maurice Conley, 43, of Champaign, included a broken leg, a pooling of blood in the leg, a cut tongue and a cervical strain. Her other passenger, Robert Spears, 35, suffered acute respiratory failure from two collapsed lungs, a bruise to one lung and an acute kidney injury.

If convicted of the two counts of aggravated DUI, Marshall faces penalties ranging from probation to one to 12 years in prison. The penalties are enhanced because of the injuries to her passengers.

She remains free while her case is pending. She is being represented by Assistant Public Defender Michael Anderson.

Reporter

Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is mschenk@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).