Andrew Whitcomb, 35, IL

Andrew Whitcomb

Andrew Whitcomb, a hardworking journeyman electrician, was setting up a work zone on the Great River Bridge on October 18, 2022, when he was struck and killed by a driver who was looking at her phone.

At the time of the accident, Andrew and his coworker, 20-year-old Pearson J. Franklin, were walking behind their pickup truck — which had yellow construction lights activated — setting up construction barrels to mark the boundaries of a work zone.

The driver of the vehicle, 22-year-old Emily R. Johnson of Gladstone, IL, drove through one of the barrels at over 70 miles per hour. She struck both Andrew and Pearson, and the two were flung more than 270 feet. Both sustained fatal injuries.

Ms. Johnson didn’t attempt to swerve, slow down, or stop before the crash. She admitted to police that she didn’t even see the two men because she didn’t have her eyes on the road.

Ms. Johnson violated Scott’s Law, an Illinois law that requires drivers to change lanes (if possible) and slow down for stopped emergency, construction, and maintenance workers and vehicles. If a driver is unable to move to a lane further away, they must greatly reduce their speed.

Scott’s Law was named in honor of a Chicago firefighter killed by a speeding vehicle while responding to an accident.

Every state has a similar “move over” law to protect workers and first responders. Despite that fact, those who work in the construction industry, like Andrew, are still at risk. One out of every five pedestrians killed in motor vehicle accidents is in the construction industry.


In this case, the driver was held legally accountable. Although she was initially only cited for breaking Scott’s Law, Emily Johnson was eventually charged with the deaths of Andrew and Pearson in March 2023.

In 2024, Ms. Johnson was convicted on two counts of reckless homicide, a felony offense punishable by three to seven years in prison. She was also convicted on two counts of aggravated use of a communication device, a felony offense punishable by one to four years in prison.

That verdict may serve as a warning to other drivers, but it won’t bring Andrew back. The community has lost a bright and compassionate spirit.

Andrew is remembered fondly by coworkers, family, and friends. As a 15-year member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Andrew was a highly skilled electrician who spent much of his time at work mentoring a new generation of electrical apprentices.

Andrew’s career gave him the opportunity to pursue another passion: adventure.

As a journeyman electrician, he traveled across the country in a camper along with Rico, his beloved three-legged dog. He often would travel for work when local opportunities were few — he wanted to make sure his coworkers who had young families at home had the opportunity to work locally.

Andrew was a beloved brother, uncle, son, nephew, cousin, and friend. He was close to his family and shared his talent for cooking with them, and he was known for smoking an incredible brisket. Most of all, he’s remembered for his deeply generous spirit.

Andrew’s community and family still feel the acute pain of his absence. “Half of who I am was violently taken from me by a distracted driver on October 18, 2022,” says Andrew’s twin sister, Ashley Whitcomb Squier. “Andrew was my twin brother, my best friend. I will never be the same.”

“He was loved beyond measure. He is missed beyond comprehension. He should still be here.”