In the aftermath of the fatal car crash that injured (then) WGHS junior Emma Casey and killed Casey’s boyfriend Xander Wohlstadter, Belleville, IL resident Willie Green was charged with first degree involuntary manslaughter.
Green was also charged on two counts of armed criminal action, one count of assault in the second degree (operating a vehicle while intoxicated resulting in injury), and one count of leaving the scene of an accident.
According to the probable cause statement from the St. Louis circuit attorney’s office, blood tests conducted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol showed Green’s blood alcohol to be .162, more than twice the legal amount.
The crash occurred at 9:33 p.m. on New Year’s Eve when Green ran a red light at the intersection of Chouteau Avenue and South Jefferson, colliding with the Mitsubishi Lancer driven by Wohlstadter, 20. Casey was riding as a passenger with Wohlstadter.
According to the probable cause statement, Green was traveling at 55 mph when he went through the light and ran into Wohlstadter’s vehicle. The zone’s speed limit was 35 mph.
The circuit attorney’s office alleged, “…the defendant (Green), while under the influence of alcohol caused the death of X.W. by colliding with a vehicle in which X.W. was an occupant when operating a motor vehicle with criminal negligence in that the defendant was violating electrical signal or driving above the posted speed limit, and X.W. was not a passenger in the vehicle operated by the defendant.”
Wohlstadter was declared dead at the scene of the crash, while Casey went into a coma for 13 days afterward but survived.
Casey said the charges, while late (eight months after the crash), were fair. “It’s good someone’s being held accountable, but I don’t want people to have any pent-up anger toward Willie Green,” Casey said. “You may have anger or stress at Willie Green, but that’s not going to change what happened.”
Casey, who also suffered injuries to her skull, rib, and pelvis, has since celebrated her 17th birthday and started her senior year at WGHS.
“It’s a good feeling, senior year, my last year… and my teachers have been really great, given everything that’s happened,” Casey said.