Criminal charges dropped against woman accused in road rage incident with Philly DA’s chief of homicide
A judge dropped the charges against Khasandra Franklin, accused of trying in September to run off the road the then-chief of homicide for the District Attorney's Office, Anthony Voci.
The state Attorney General’s Office on Friday withdrew all criminal charges against an East Mount Airy woman accused of reckless endangerment in a September road rage incident involving the then-chief of homicide for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.
Khasandra Franklin, 25, initially had been charged with aggravated assault, a felony, for allegedly trying to run Anthony Voci off the road while he was driving his motorcycle, but that charge was later dropped, along with lesser charges of possession of an instrument of crime, simple assault, tampering with evidence, and obstruction of justice.
She was still facing counts of recklessly endangering another person and reckless driving, both misdemeanors. But Trial Commissioner Greg Bissinger dismissed the case Friday after Chief Deputy Attorney General Kirsten Heine asked that the charges be withdrawn. Heine did not explain that decision except to say that her office agreed to do so after Franklin promised to comply with unspecified conditions in a pending DUI case in Montgomery County.
State prosecutors took over the road rage case because the District Attorney’s Office had a conflict since the allegations involved one of its employees.
The Attorney General’s Office issued the following statement Friday: “When this case was referred to the Office of Attorney General, we reviewed and declined most charges, including the most serious felonies and misdemeanors. Ms. Franklin agreed to go through a drug and alcohol evaluation. That process is complete and the Commonwealth withdrew all charges today. Our efforts were solely focused on impartially ensuring public safety.”
Keir Bradford-Grey, chief defender of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, which represented Franklin, called the case “an abuse of power.”
“This was something that equity called for, and it was the right decision to make to not bring her through this criminal justice system process,” Bradford-Grey said.
There was no agreement between her office and the Attorney General’s Office concerning the dropping of the charges, she stressed. “We were always clear that we do not want any deals on this case, and we were going to go to trial on the merits.”
Nothing Franklin did that night was criminal, it was a traffic dispute, but she was charged because “the person who was the complainant was a member of the system” who labeled her actions a crime, Bradford-Grey said. “Power in a person’s hands who does not know how to use it carefully and considerately can be a very dangerous tool.”
Voci had accused Franklin of twice attempting to cut him off and almost knocking him down as they drove on Kelly and Lincoln Drives on Sept. 16. Franklin, in turn, accused Voci of calling her and her passenger “Black bitches” as they later clashed at a stoplight.
Both denied the other’s allegations.
Voci could not be reached for comment Friday.
He told police he had been at the scene of a double homicide in Spring Garden and was headed home on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, driving northbound on Kelly Drive when he encountered Franklin. At the intersection of Kelly and Midvale Avenue, he said, her car cut directly in front of him, causing him to swerve to avoid being struck.
Concerned for his safety, Voci said, he took off at about 70 mph to try to get away from the car, but it closed in on him as he approached the exits for Ridge Avenue and Lincoln Drive.
At a red light on Lincoln Drive at Wissahickon Avenue, Voci said, he pulled his motorcycle in front of the car, walked to the driver’s window, displayed his credentials from the District Attorney’s Office and said police were on the way and that Franklin should remain there. According to the police report, Voci said Franklin used an expletive, backed up, and drove off.
According to Franklin, Voci cursed and screamed at her and threatened her with a $1,000 fine. She said she and her passenger were terrified and sped off.
Voci took down her license plate number, and she was later arrested.
Head of the Homicide Unit since 2018, Voci was removed from the post in November, when District Attorney Larry Krasner replaced him with another veteran prosecutor. A spokesperson for Krasner declined to say whether the decision to replace Voci was related to the incident with Franklin.