Urbana man pleads guilty to reckless homicide

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Willie Craft, of Urbana, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of reckless homicide in the Oct. 9, 2013, death of University student Mimi Liu, according to a press release from Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz. Liu died from blunt force injuries sustained after being struck by Craft’s vehicle.

In exchange for his plea, one count of aggravated driving under the influence was dismissed and the State’s Attorney’s Office agreed to cap its sentencing recommendation to three and a half years.

Craft is eligible for probation as well.

On Oct. 9, Craft was seen driving a pickup truck erratically on Lincoln Avenue in Urbana. During the course of the event, he struck a street sign and drove up on the sidewalk near the McKinley Health Center, striking Liu and Spandana Mantravadi, who survived.

After an investigation, it was revealed that Craft is a diabetic who was treated at the scene for low blood sugar levels.

He did not have insurance on the vehicle and reported that he had not driven in three years due to his diabetes and did not eat breakfast that morning.

Champaign County Judge Richard Klaus set the sentencing hearing for July 9.