Trucker pleads guilty in Henrico accident that killed daycare worker

Posted at 12:24 PM, Apr 25, 2014

HENRICO, Va. (WTVR) –A South Carolina trucker, and son of the trucking company’s owner, pleaded guilty Thursday to multiple charges related to an accident that killed a day care worker headed home the day before Thanksgiving.

Clarence Risher, 43, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter, a license violation, and drug charge.

His previous drug charges had included possession and DUI.

Risher was driving the tractor-trailer that struck Karen Ann Whitaker’s car after he crossed the center line on Route 5

Whitaker, age 60, a mother of five children and a daycare teacher at Four Mile Creek Baptist church, was killed within yards of the church as she left for home the eve of Thanksgiving.

The feds, who became involved in the investigation, said police found an open container of alcohol, along with methamphetamine and cocaine, inside Risher’s truck after the crash.

Investigators found the company to be “reckless” with “almost nonexistent management safety oversight.” The federal government shut down the company not long after the accident.

Law enforcement said Risher should never have been driving the truck because his operator’s license had been suspended in his home state.

Additionally, court records in South Carolina show that Risher has a lengthy criminal history.

This was not the first time his company, CER Trucking, LLC, has gotten into trouble.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation that regulates the trucking industry:

  1. July of 2012 — Risher’s company was hit with a speeding violation.
  2. February of 2013 — One of Risher’s trucks had to be taken off the road after drugs and alcohol were found in the vehicle.
  3. September of 2013 — A driver had to park the truck for not having a valid operator’s license or CDL license because of a safety violation.

Risher’s will be sentenced the afternoon of July 17. The maximum sentencing he faces is up to a little more than four years in prison.



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