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Former council candidate charged in media director's death

Posted at 10:50 AM, Dec 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 11:50:38-05

MADISON, Wis. — Prosecutors have charged a former Fitchburg City Council candidate in connection with the July death of Wisconsin Public Media Director Gene Purcell.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports Shawnicia Youmas was charged Tuesday with homicide by negligent driving. According to a criminal complaint, Youmas' vehicle collided with Purcell's motorcycle near the Wisconsin Public Broadcasting building in Madison on July 27. Data from the air bag control module in her car showed she was traveling nearly 65 mph 1.5 seconds before the collision. The speed limit in the area was 30 mph.

Purcell was a longtime figure in public broadcasting in Wisconsin. In 2018 he became director of Wisconsin Public Media, which operates Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television.