Centralia Woman Charged In Connection to 2014 Traffic Death

(MT. VERNON, IL) — The jury trial of a 30-year-old former Centralia woman charged in connection with the November 2014 traffic death of a Centralia man has tentatively been scheduled for this summer. Brittany Schwanke is charged in Jefferson County with Class 2 felony aggravated driving while under the influence in connection to a fatal vehicle crash north of Dix that claimed the life of 22-year-old Bret “BJ” Henkel and misdemeanor DUI. However, a previously confirmed date for jury trial was vacated to allow Schwanke’s new defense attorney time to become familiar with the case and for the accident reconstructionist report to be completed. Schwanke had been represented by Sean Featherstun who had been Jefferson County Public Defender but has since been elected and sworn in as the state’s attorney. The prosecution alleges Schwanke was under the influence of illegal controlled substances at the time of the fatal crash on Illinois Route 37 that took Henkel’s life. She has been allowed to return to Mississippi pending a definite trial date. A tentative trial date has been set for August.