GENEVA COUNTY, Ala (WDHN) — Judge William Filmore has granted Youthful Offender status for William Birdsong, the son of the Geneva County Superintendent, according to Geneva County District Attorney Kirke Adams.

Judge Filmore originally denied Birdsong’s youthful offender request in July 2022, but the Birdsong family appealed, and during a hearing on Wednesday, April 17, 2023, Judge Filmore granted the status.

Birdsong is accused of causing a crash that killed Barbara Joyce Spears, 70, of Westville, Florida, and severely injured another in June 2021, a month after Birdsong’s high school graduation. The crash occurred in a construction zone on State Highway 167, one mile south of the Hartford city limits.

A court record said Birdsong may have been driving distracted or under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash, but the DA now says Birdsong did not have any marijuana or any substance in his blood.

In October 2021, a Geneva County Grand Jury indicted Birdsong, 18 at the time of the crash, on one count of reckless manslaughter and one count of second-degree assault

Adams said some of the victims’ families attended the Wednesday status hearing and fought against Judge Filmore granting Youthful Offender.

While under Youthful Offender status, Birdsong will still be prosecuted, but a bench trial will take place instead of a jury trial.

The outcome of the trial and all court documents will be sealed from the public, but Birdsong could face a maximum of 3 years if found guilty, according to Adams.

Stay with WDHN for updates.