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Funeral for Huntington teen struck and killed by deputy’s cruiser set for Saturday

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The funeral of a 13-year-old girl who was struck and killed by an off-duty Cabell County sheriff’s deputy in Huntington last week will be this Saturday.

Laney Hudson

Family and friends of Laney Hudson plan to remember her life from 3-5 p.m. at Chapman’s Mortuary & Crematory across from St. Mary’s Medical Center.

Hudson died a week ago on Dec. 30, 2022 after being hit in a crosswalk by a cruiser being driven by Deputy Jeffrey Racer at 5th Avenue and 31st Street. Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle identified Racer as the deputy earlier this week.

State Police said that alcohol was not a factor as Racer passed breathalyzers and field sobriety tests. Racer is currently on administrative leave.

Hudson’s mother Opal Slone said she’s demanding Racer be fired and charged over the deadly collision.

“I think Jeff Racer should be behind bars. If it was a regular civilian, they would definitely be in jail right now,” Slone told MetroNews on Friday.

Slone, her family and other members of the community have been protesting every day to hold Racer accountable for his actions.

“I know he didn’t mean to hit her, even if he accidentally hit her going 35 miles per hour, but he didn’t. He was recklessly driving and it killed her,” she said.

Information about the speed of the vehicle has still not been released as of Friday morning, but Slone said she believes Racer was probably traveling at a high rate of speed due to the damage of the cruiser.

“Usually when somebody is hit with a vehicle, there’s no damage done to that vehicle. Well, his hood is destroyed,” she said.

State Police Sgt. BK Wellman previously said they plan to remove the black box from inside the cruiser and download data from that to determine a speed. Calls to Wellman both Thursday and Friday by MetroNews have not been returned.

No charges have been filed against Racer.

Slone said police never contacted her about the collision and that she heard about it through friends. When she arrived on scene, deputies told her to wait for her daughter at St. Mary’s Medical Center. She didn’t see Hudson until four hours later.

“I was waiting until 2:42 in the morning. They left that baby lay there until 2:42 in the morning and then took her straight to Charleston,” Slone said. “I have not talked to any law enforcement since then.”

Slone said her daughter was loved not just by her family, but also by so many of her friends. Hudson was supposed to be at a friend’s house in Buffalo Creek the night she died.

“Her friends meant more to her than probably her family. She absolutely adored her friends and had the biggest smile,” Slone said. “I don’t know of many people or kids that did not like Laney.”

Slone said she will continue to protest every day until justice is served.

“I will be there every single day of my life until something is done,” she said.

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