Cody Bradley Hendry, the driver of a 2000 Honda involved in an accident on US Hwy. 29 in Nov. 2011 in which 17 year old Jaela Kelley was killed, pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless homicide Thursday. According to Assistant Solicitor Lauren Price, Hendry had a blood-alcohol level of 0.099 after the accident. He was originally facing a charge of DUI homicide which has a sentence of up to 25 years. Under the reckless homicide charge, Hendry is facing up to 10 years in prison.
Price said she and the defense attorney are recommending a miximum prison sentence of five years. The charge was reduced because of a new state law which requires drivers to give a written consent before a blood sample is drawn for blood alcohol level testing.
Hendry and passengers in his car were on their way to a bonfire when a gas tanker headed north on US Hwy. 29 hit the vehicle Hendry was driving at the intersection of Ballard Rd. around 9:30 p.m.
The 2011 Kenworth tanker truck flipped over after striking the rear passenger side of the Honda where Kelley was sitting. She died about an hour later after being transported to Greenville Memorial Hospital. At the time she was a senior at Palmetto High School.
Judge Cordell Maddox heard the case. Kelley’s mother filed a wrongful death suit against Hendry, the owner of the convenience store who allegedly sold Hendry’s friend Wes Johnson beer and Sphinx Transportation, the owner of the gas tanker truck.