Clark man sentenced to 22 years for fatal crash

The impact killed a Harrisburg teacher

Brandon Brill sentencing

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A man accused in a crash that killed a Harrisburg High School teacher will spend 22 years in prison.

Judge Jeff Harris sentenced Brandon Brill of Clark at the conclusion of a hearing Tuesday that lasted several hours. 

"Sentences is to be served consecutively, to each other and not concurrently," Harris said.

Brill was charged in connection with a crash last September that resulted in the death of Brian Simpson, a Harrisburg teacher and cross-country coach who was driving a bus that was hit head-on by Brill's pickup truck. Five students were also injured in the crash.

Simpson was driving the bus to a meet. Several student-athletes riding the bus were injured.

Several students and others including Simpson's wife, parents and sister testified at Brill's sentencing hearing Tuesday. Brill's family members also testified at the hearing.

"Brian was a devoted teacher, coach, mentor and friend to so many. (People) went to him for advice," Simpson's parents said.

Brill claimed he was sleep-deprived when he got on Route F after a 16-hour work shift. He pleaded guilty in July to involuntary manslaughter and assault. He was originally charged with second-degree murder. He was sentenced to 15 years on the manslaughter charge and seven years on the assault charge.

Brill has prior convictions for drug possession and driving offenses.

The state asked for a total of 22 years in prison on the two counts, but Brill's attorneys asked for 12 years.

Harrisburg Superintendent Steve Combs said it's a sad day but all he, students and faculty want to do is remember how much of great person Simpson was. 

Brandi Stauffacher, the mother of Brill's two daughters, said despite their rocky relationship, Brill was trying to turn his life around when tragedy struck.

"Before this happened, I was not his (Brian Brill's) biggest fan. Period. I couldn't stand him and with him working, you know he really showed me that he was different. He was paying child support. You know he was doing the things he needed to do," Stauffacher said.

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