Plantersville man pleads guilty to manslaughter for 2013 car crash

Published 4:56 pm Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Plantersville man pleaded guilty to manslaughter and two counts of assault in the first degree for a 2013 car crash in north Thorsby that killed a Jemison man and severely injured his family.

Cedric Randall, 28, drove intoxicated on Feb. 2, 2013, and caused a wreck that killed Michael Guy Chancellor, 36, of Jemison.

Randall’s case was set to go to trial Monday, but he entered a plea agreement Monday morning.

Prosecutors agreed to drop eight charges including murder, criminal negligent homicide, vehicular homicide, improper lane usage, driving on the wrong side of the highway, driving with a suspended license and driving under the influence in exchange for a guilty plea to one count of manslaughter and two counts of assault in the first degree.

By pleading guilty to the manslaughter charge, Randall could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Randall appeared in court Monday morning in front of Chilton County Circuit Judge Ben A. Fuller.

Assistant District Attorney for the 19th Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office Brandon Bates told Fuller that Randall operated a motor vehicle in February 2013 at the same time Michael and Bethanie Chancellor and their two children were traveling on Highway 31.

“Randall crossed the center line causing a head-on collision,” Bates said.

Michael Chancellor was pronounced dead on the scene.

Bethanie Chancellor, and two children, Peyton (7 at the time of the crash) and Lawson (1 at the time of the crash), were hospitalized following the wreck and later released.

Bates told Fuller that Bethanie was in a coma while Peyton suffered traumatic brain injury while also being in a coma for several days.

The crash report from the Alabama State Troopers indicated Randall was driving under the influence of both alcohol and drugs.

At the time of the crash, Randall’s alcohol test results indicated a blood alcohol level of 0.165, more than double Alabama’s legal limit for adult drivers of .08.

A witness told the officer investigating the crash that Randall was traveling south on Highway 31, ran off the road, crossed the centerline and collided with Chancellor’s car.

Randall admitted to drinking earlier before the crash and stated he did not remember the crash or any details leading up to the crash, according to the crash report.

A witness who observed the crash said Randall swerved off the road in his 2010 Honda Accord, then drove back on the road, and hit the car driven by Chancellor head-on while driving 70 miles per hour.

The crash report stated the witness observed Randall exit his car from the driver’s side “yelling and acting very hostile as if he was under the influence and his mind was altered.”

Bates said Randall could have faced a lighter sentence if his case had gone to trial, so prosecutors agreed to dismiss several charges to ensure an appropriate sentence for the crimes.

Randall will be sentenced Nov. 12 at 9 a.m.