Truck driver sentenced in fatal Henrico crash that killed daycare worker

Posted at 4:30 PM, Jul 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-17 19:10:13-04

HENRICO, Va. -- A South Carolina trucker, and son of the trucking company’s owner, was sentenced to four years and one month in jail for an accident that killed a day care worker headed home the day before Thanksgiving.

He was given 32 years total, but most of the time was suspended.

In April Clarence Risher, 43, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter, a license violation, possession of a controlled substance, DUI/drugs first offense, possession of alcohol while driving, failure to maintain a log book.

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.