ROCKCASTLE COUNTY —
The 81-year-old man who pleaded guilty, but mentally ill, to killing his sister in a 2011 “road rage” incident was sentenced Friday morning to 10 years in prison.
Clyde White’s victim, 83-year-old Dorothy Whitaker, was a well-known Richmond resident.
Sitting in a chair before the judge, White listened while his attorneys asked Rockcastle Circuit Judge David Tapp to have his sentence probated so he could be placed in a nursing home.
“He’s had to stay in solitary (confinement) due to his age,” One of White’s defense attorneys told the judge.
“How will I be sure he won’t operate a motor vehicle, will stay in a nursing home?” Tapp asked, adding White actions had posed a significant risk to to other motorists on Interstate 75.
The attorney assured the judge that White would never drive again because he was physically incapable of doing so.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney David Dalton opposed probation and asked the judge to sentence White to the 10 years that was agreed upon in the plea bargain.
“No nursing home will protect the public,” Dalton said.
Tapp acknowledged that White told the trooper who arrested him that he hadn’t planned to ram the van in which his sister was a passenger.
“These were rash actions which visited grievous harm – grievous harm – on other people,” Tapp said.
What happened took only took a few minutes, Tapp said, “but the impact of it will be far-reaching.”
The state department of corrections can meet White’s medical needs, the judge added.
Tapp sentenced White to the full 10 years in prison.
White entered an Alford plea last month to second-degree manslaughter. He already has served more than 600 days in jail and may be eligible for parole in September.
Siblings were trying to help brother
Police say Clyde White pursued the van in which Whitaker, 83, was riding in along Interstate 75 the morning of Aug. 29, 2011, ramming it repeatedly with his vehicle until the van ran off the road in Rockcastle County.
Lawrence White, Whitaker and Clyde White’s brother, was driving the van. Both he and Whitaker were airlifted to the University of Kentucky Medical Center where Whitaker died the next day.
Lawrence White survived but suffered permanent physical and psychological injuries from the attack, according to a civil suit he and the estate of Dorothy Whitaker have filed against Clyde White and State Farm Insurance.
A few days before the incident, Clyde White had attempted to move his belongings into his sister’s Richmond home, according to a transcript from Lawrence White’s deposition in the civil case.
Whitaker told Clyde she was unable to care for him along with her ailing husband. White said his home in Corbin had suffered some sort of fire damage, Lawrence White said in his deposition.
Whitaker allowed Clyde to stay at her house for a few days.
On the day of the attack, Whitaker and Lawrence White told their brother that they would go with him back to Corbin to look for a place for him to stay and find a contractor to repair his house.
Clyde followed his brother and sister’s van south along I-75, but along the way, Lawrence White lost track of him and pulled off.
After waiting a while for Clyde’s car to pass, the siblings pulled back onto the interstate.
A few miles later, they saw him stopped on the left shoulder of the interstate.
As they passed, Clyde pulled out behind them and starting ramming the van from behind.
Whitaker called 911 and told her brother, “He’s trying to kill us,” Lawrence White said in his deposition.
The chase exceeded 100 mph, according to the police report, and Lawrence White eventually exited the interstate onto KY 461 in Rockcastle County. Clyde then forced the victims’ van off the road and into a DirecTV service van parked on the shoulder, state police said.
Clyde White was uninjured and attempted to flee on foot after the crash. He was captured by a KSP trooper.
White told the trooper he was angry with his sister because she’d asked him to move out.
“He stated he was upset because his brother and sister were going to leave him to die and take all his money,” the trooper testified at the preliminary hearing.
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6694.