Sunday, July 8 marks the one year anniversary of the tragic death of Antigo man Robert Korhonen. Korhonen was killed while riding his motorcycle home from the Iola Car Show last year. His daughter, Stacey, who was on the back of his motorcycle, survived the crash and was transported to a hospital with critical injuries. She has since recovered.
Korhonen’s wife, Jody, along with their grandchildren are encouraging all not to drink and drive. Her grandchildren have made signs that Jody plans to keep posted in her yard through the month of July. She wants to continue to show the severity of drunk driving and how much impact it can really have on a family and a community.
Despite the lifelong motorcycle enthusiast’s untimely passing, Korhonen left behind a legacy of a great father, chivalrous husband, and caring man.
“He loved his motorcycle. He has been a motorcycle enthusiast all his life ever since he could basically walk and he has always been a safe rider. I wanted people to know that,” Jody previously stated. “He always watched what other [drivers] were doing, always kept his distance – we avoided so many accidents in the past from people coming into us, but when someone blindly comes out in front of you, it’s like hitting a wall.”
Robert and Jody frequently rode together, taking in the Honor Flight Ride every year as one of their favorite rides on his Harley. Before Robert’s passing last July, the couple was in the process of planning a biker’s dream vacation for this year, discussing a possible trip to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota – a place neither of them had been to before.
The driver of a Buick sedan, 29 year old Billie Jo McSherry from Tigerton, Wisconsin was traveling eastbound on Highway 49 when she crossed the centerline on a curve, striking the motorcycle head-on. McSherry and her nine year old child, who was a passenger in her car at the time of the crash, were transported to Saint Michael’s Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The child was treated and released. McSherry was also subsequently released from the hospital and taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies on initial charges of homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle.
Following the blood draw at the hospital, McSherry became violent and tried leaving the examination room. She then kicked and spat at deputies, and began screaming and swearing loudly. After being fitted with an oxygen mask so she couldn’t spit on the deputies, she attempted to bite a hospital staffer.
Jody attended McSherry’s initial appearance in Portage County where nine different charges were compiled against the defendant, including seven felonies.
McSherry pleaded guilty Tuesday, April 3, 2018 to three felonies in the drunken-driving crash on July 8, 2017. When questioned, McSherry said she was driving home but couldn’t remember where she was coming from. She admitted to consuming alcohol prior to driving, but refused a breathalyzer test. A blood test later confirmed she had a .30 blood alcohol level — more than three times the legal limit.
“Nobody deserves this. It didn’t happen to a loser dad and a deadbeat mom,” Jody said in a previous interview. “He loved us and he loved his family. He was my Superman.”
McSherry will be sentenced on Friday, July 6.