Continuance granted in negligent homicide case claiming life of 17-year-old

Photo: Cheryl Clement

A second continuance has been granted in the case of an Izard County woman charged with negligent homicide in connection with a fatal vehicle accident in early 2019 claiming the life of a Melbourne teen.

Online court records show 61-year-old Cheryl Clement of Horseshoe Bend is also charged with a felony count of second-degree battery and a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated.

With the continuance, Clement’s trial is now set for May 21-22 in Izard County Circuit Court. The Horseshoe Bend woman is represented by J.T. Skinner of Batesville.

According to the probable cause affidavit, about six minutes before the two-vehicle head-on crash occurred, a truck matching the description of the one Clement was driving had been reported all over the road near Wisemen.

The accident occurred about 5:38 on the evening of Jan. 30, 2019 on Johnson View Road.

Clement was airlifted to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences at Little Rock, while the second driver, 44-year-old Rodney D. Kemp of Salem, was airlifted to Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock.

A passenger in Kemp’s vehicle, 17-year-old Tiffany Marie Russell of Melbourne, was pronounced dead at the scene. Russell was a 10th grade student at Salem High School.

Blood draws from both drivers were collected later that evening, about four hours after the accident.

An investigation beginning the following day revealed video footage of Clement entering and leaving a club in Horseshoe Bend, as well as testimony from the bartender. The film shows Clement leaving the parking lot of the establishment at 5:27 p.m., approximately 11 minutes before the fatal crash.

The results of a crime lab report analysis indicated Clement’s blood alcohol at the time of the crash was almost three times the legal limit of 0.08.

Clements is free on a $10,000 bond.

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