Plantersville man sentenced to 20 years in prison for 2013 car crash

Published 4:39 pm Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Plantersville man was sentenced Wednesday morning to serve 20 years in prison for charges related to a 2013 car crash in north Thorsby that killed a Jemison man and severely injured his family.

Cedric Randall, 29, drove intoxicated on Feb. 2, 2013, and caused a wreck that killed Michael Guy Chancellor, 36, of Jemison, according to authorities at the time of the incident.

Randall, wearing a checkered button-down shirt, North Face jacket and blue jeans, stood before Chilton County Circuit Judge Ben A. Fuller with several of his family members standing behind him as Fuller sentenced him to 20 years for one count of manslaughter and two counts of assault in the first degree.

He also received a seven-year sentence for each of the two counts of assault in the first degree.

The two assault charges will run concurrently with the manslaughter charge.

In July, 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 guilty pleas to the three charges.

Prior to receiving his sentence, Randall addressed the court and Chancellor’s wife, Bethanie Chancellor, who sustained injuries from the crash, along with the couple’s two children as they were traveling on Highway 31.

“I am sorry; I am truly sorry,” Randall said, turning to Bethanie, who was standing a few inches from him. “Ever since this happened, I have been carrying this burden with me, and I am truly very sorry for what happened.”

Randall operated a motor vehicle in February 2013 at the same time the Chancellor family was traveling on Highway 31.

Randall crossed the center line causing a head-on collision, authorities said at the time.

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.

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 0.08.

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 the Chancellors’ 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.

Bethanie Chancellor addressed Randall prior to being sentenced with an emotional description of her family’s life after the crash.

“I had no idea what lay ahead for our family that day,” Bethanie said in the hushed courtroom. “The one glimpse of memory I have is seeing a car flashing their lights at us in the distance because they were trying to warn us that Cedric Randall was traveling at a high rate of speed. That moment ended any conversation I would ever have with my husband, and I relive that memory every day.”

Bethanie told Randall her family was “robbed” of the opportunity to say goodbye to Michael Chancellor, and Bethanie did not learn of his death until days after the crash due to being in a coma.

“Our hopes, plans, dreams of the future including family vacations and more babies were robbed from us,” Bethanie said. “My baby will have no memories of his father because this man’s selfish decision to drive while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.”

Bethanie said she can no longer use her left arm, her dominant arm, as a result of the crash, and Peyton Chancellor continues to struggle with permanent hearing loss and brain damage.

“While this man has been given time with his loved ones, and celebrated his birthdays, we have gone and put flowers on my husband’s grave,” Bethanie said. “There is no punishment that will restore what has been taken from us. I believe Cedric Randall did not set out to hurt my family; he just didn’t care.”

Fuller read the sentence to Randall, and told him he thought it was a “generous” sentence.

“I am very sorry for your loss,” Fuller told Bethanie.

Randall turned to hug his family members before being escorted out of the courtroom.