Newspaper co-owner pleads guilty to reckless homicide in Southern Illinois

A Centralia newspaper co-owner has pleaded guilty to a charge in connection to the death of an Odin man in Central City this spring.

Thomas Joy, 59, admitted on Wednesday that he had disobeyed a traffic control device when his pickup struck 65-year-old Jerry Clarkson’s motorcycle on May 15, a WJBD Radio report stated. Clarkson later died from his injuries as a result of the crash at a St. Louis hospital.

Joy accepted a plea deal to the felony charge of reckless homicide and faces a sentence of two to five years in prison, the report stated.

At the time, Joy refused to take a breathalyzer test. According to the report, part of his plea agreement was dropping a driving under the influence charge and a failure to yield the right of way charge.

Joy is part-owner of the Centralia Morning Sentinel newspaper. His sentencing was set for Feb. 6 in Marion County.

Hana Muslic has been covering breaking news and crime for the Belleville News-Democrat since August 2018. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and her previous work can be found in The Lincoln Journal-Star and The Kansas City Star.