St. Louis Public Radio News
10:09 am
Tue June 8, 2010

St. Louis man pleads guilty in crash that killed three

Edwardsville, IL – A 48-year-old St. Louis man will spend at least 24 years in prison for a head-on collision that killed three people and seriously injured a fourth.

Newton Keene was highly intoxicated, with a blood alcohol content more than twice the legal limit, when he drove the wrong way in the southbound lanes of Interstate 255 near Edwardsville in February 2009 and collided with a Chevrolet Aveo driven by 32-year-old Tawanda Jackson. Jackson, her 9-year-old son Arnold, and a friend, 28-year-old Jon Moss were killed. Jackson's daughter, 11-year-old Takia, survived the crash but was seriously injured.

Keene pleaded guilty Monday to four crimes and must serve at least 85 percent of the 28-year-sentence. He'd been convicted of drunk driving six other times, but spent only 120 days in jail.

"History has shown us that keeping Mr. Keene behind bars is the only way to keep him from harming others on our roadways," said Madison County state's attorney William Mudge in a statement. "This crash was horrific on many fronts, and the sentence, although for the maximum term of years allowed by law, is inadequate when considering the losses suffered by the Jackson family."