South Carolina: Anderson Coach Riley McDermott pleaded guilty of killing three in DUI crash; his party ended when he drove across the center line – his victim’s lives were ended too – he will be out of prison at age 40

DWI HIT PARADE Copyright 2019
Riley McDermott filling the graveyard while DUI


The Sentence:

McDermott’s sentence is 18 years for the felony DUI with death charges and 15 years for felony DUI with injuries to be served concurrently.  If he had received the maximum sentence, it would have totaled 135 years.  Under the sentence, he will be in prison from age 24 to nearly age 40.  He also has to pay $10,100 for each fatality charge and $5,100 for two injury charges.  One felony injury charge was dropped as part of the plea deal.

He will have to serve 85 percent of the 18-year sentence, minus 530 days he’s already been in prison.

McDermott waived all of his constitutional rights to a jury trial, to a defense, to confront witnesses and the right to remain silent.

Testimony on the victims’ behalf:

Price said there were hundreds of people who wanted to speak on behalf of the victims, but they limited testimony to one representative

Tom Dunaway spoke for Amber Perkins’s family and said it was “a tragedy of all tragedies for all concerned.” He talked about Amber winning beauty pageants, loving animals and loving karate, for which she had a brown belt. He said she especially loved Christmas.  He said, “No one here today or in the Anderson area will ever recover from the loss … of Hope.”

Rev. Curtis Johnson spoke for Cory Simmons’ family. He said, “To McDermott and family and friends, I know this is a difficult time and I pray that the peace and peace of God rests with you.” He talked about Simmons being the kind of boy his sons looked up to. He said Cory had just introduced a new girlfriend to his family, and was heading home when the crash happened.

Johnson said, “Pray that justice will be served in the midst of this. Incredibly difficult circumstances.  Families have been devastated for the rest of their lives.”

Deborah Simmons, Cory’s mother, said she was the last mother to see the children alive. She said before the crash, they were trying to get Cheyenne home because he is so young. She said she would hug McDermott if she could, but she was not allowed to under court guidelines.

“That horrible night, that thing that happened.  It changed us,” she said. “Cory won’t be able to start his life again at 40 and see what happens.  That’s our family’s legacy.”

A family representative read a statement on behalf of Jessica’s family.  They acknowledged that McDermott didn’t intend to kill or injure them, but they still had to plan a funeral and watch Jessica be buried. He said Samantha suffered serious injury and lost her big sister.

“We face every day knowing we are raising our granddaughter and her mother is gone.  No amount of time will bring our daughter back.  But we hope justice is served for all the victims,” the statement said.

He said Jessica’s life was worth so much. “She was a selfless person who carried the world in her hands.”  Talking about Jessica’s daughter, he said, “A 2-year-old should not know what death is, but that is exactly what Katie can do. Katie knows her mother is someone in the sky and a piece of concrete.”

A representative for Samantha Roberts, whose sister was killed, said her injuries were so severe she had multiple surgeries and spent a month in the hospital.  He said her medical bills have already exceeded $400,000.  He said, “Regarding sentencing, nothing that the court can do can change what happened.” But he said the family accepts the agreement that has been reached. 

Steve Krause spoke on behalf of Cheyenne Perkins and her family as she stood next to him.  He talked about Deputy Coroner Don McCown who found 11-year-old Cheyenne trapped in the wreckage.  He performed an emergency tracheotomy at the scene, saving her life.  She was hospitalized for an extensive period of time before being discharged on Feb 12, 2015, from the Roger C Peace Brain Institute.  She has a traumatic brain injury that will leave her with a lifetime of problems.  Krauss described her head injury and broken bones. “Not any part of her body that wasn’t affected by the crash,” he said.

Krause said Cheyenne suffered poly-trauma, typical of service members who have suffered bomb blasts. She has had more than $800,000 in medical expenses so far.  His said her lifetime care costs will end up in the millions or tens of millions of dollars.  She has significant memory deficits, but he said she is back to school in special needs classes.

Krause said that McDermott reached out to Cheyenne’s family two weeks after the wreck and expressed sorrow and remorse. He said Cheyenne’s mother said at that time.  “I forgive him.”  She said all of us make mistakes. It’s part of what we do as we journey through life.  Krauss said our acts have consequences. He said the family appreciates candor and honesty about what happened that night, and commend McDermott for that.

“There are always consequences for our acts,” Krause said. “I hope this serves as a learning experience not just for you but for everyone who consumes alcohol and gets behind the wheel and anyone who serves alcohol.”


ANDERSON, S.C. – Anderson Police say a driver now faces multiple counts of felony DUI after a deadly crash early Saturday morning.

The accident happened shortly after midnight on East Calhoun Street near the intersection of Williamston Road and Wilson Street in Anderson.

According to Lt. Mike Aikens with Anderson Police, Riley Christopher McDermott, 24, was driving a Ford F-150 when he crossed the center line and crashed head-on into a Nissan Altima.

Aikens says McDermott was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.

McDermott was treated for his injuries then was arrested and charged Saturday morning. He is currently charged with one count of Felony DUI resulting in death. He is expected to be served with five more Felony DUI charges Monday according to Lt. Aikens.

McDermott is as assistant coach with Anderson University’s baseball team. He is currently being held at the Anderson City Jail.  ….MORE

Deputy Coroner Don McCown says five people were in the vehicle that McDermott hit. The driver and a passenger died at the scene. A second passenger died at the hospital.

McCown released the identities of the victims Saturday afternoon.

The driver is identified as Cory Simmonds, 22, of Greenville.

Amber Perkins, 17, of Williamston, also died at the scene.

Jessica Ann Roberts, 20, of Iva, died at the hospital.