Teenager’s family speaks with WSAZ amid death investigation

WSAZ speaks with family amid teenage death investigation
Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 6:31 PM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - It’s been four days since a 13-year-old girl was hit and killed by a car.

West Virginia State Police say Laney Hudson was hit and killed by a marked cruiser driven by an off-duty Cabell County Sheriff’s deputy.

Since Hudson’s death, friends and family have lined the streets of Huntington, asking for a full investigation into what happened.

“When I feel like I can’t go on anymore, my voice won’t carry me no more. I pray to Laney and God, and they carry me through this,” said Jessica Slone, Laney’s aunt.

Slone spent the last three days at the Cabell County Courthouse wanting to be heard.

“A lot. It lets us know how much Laney really was loved. How much she is really going to be missed. That her name is not going to die. We will live on through Laney,” Slone said.

West Virginia State Police troopers are investigating the incident.

WSAZ has learned the deputy behind the wheel passed two breathalyzer tests while at the scene on Friday, Dec. 30.

Troopers said the deputy’s blood alcohol results were 0.0%

The deputy also passed a field sobriety test which was given at the state police field office.

Troopers told WSAZ both tests are routine protocol in any incident involving a fatality.

“He was given a breath test which not only indicated he had not been drinking,” West Virginia State Police Sgt. B.K. Wellman said.” He was also given a field sobriety test by a certified drug recognition expert. One of the troopers took extensive training. They ruled out any impairments whatsoever. "

Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle tells WSAZ.com the deputy’s cruiser did not have a dash camera and that none of the department’s cruisers do.

Witnesses told troopers the deputy had a green light at the time of the incident.

Investigators are in the process of removing the black box from the vehicle, which determines the speed.

While Laney’s family wants answers, state police say they will come in due time.

“From our point of view, he’s not treated any different from any other driver,” Sgt. Wellman said.

A reconstruction team from out-of-county will review the incident.

Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle said the sheriff’s office is launching an internal investigation, which will be conducted by an agency outside the county.

For previous coverage:

Troopers release new details in teen death investigation

Troopers say sheriff’s deputy not intoxicated