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Son of Inglis mayor dies one week after collision

James ''Buddy'' Risher Jr. is the second of three friends to die after the crash near Crystal River Mall. The third remains in serious condition.

By SUZANNAH GONZALES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 11, 2003


James "Buddy" Risher Jr., 41, died early Thursday, one week after he was involved in a car wreck on U.S. 19 just south of the Crystal River Mall.

"He was the best son any mother could have ever had," said his mother, Inglis Mayor Carolyn Risher.

The crash also had led to the death of Walter Thomas Leigh, 47, who was known as "Tommy." Leigh was in the front passenger seat of the 2002 white Ford pickup truck that Risher drove, according to police.

After last week's crash, both Inglis men were flown by helicopter to Tampa General Hospital, where they died.

After days of being listed in critical condition, Risher died at 4:50 a.m. Thursday, said Crystal River police Sgt. David DeCarlis.

The third man in the truck, 48-year-old David Anthony Parrish, who is known as "Tony," remained in serious condition Thursday at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa.

Parrish of Homosassa rode in the back seat behind Leigh, DeCarlis said.

The woman whose car collided with Risher's pickup truck did not suffer serious injury. Karen Henry, 49, of Inglis, was wearing her seat belt; the three men were not, police have said.

Henry was driving south on U.S. 19 on her way to the mall about 1:20 p.m. on April 3.

Meanwhile, the three men, who hunted together, were headed north on U.S. 19, on their way to build a dog pen after making stops at Home Depot in Crystal River for lumber and Checkers for food.

Henry previously said she started to inch forward to turn left on NW Sixth Avenue. The truck carrying the three men went through the intersection in the center lane.

Police said the front of Henry's car hit the left side of Risher's truck, sending the truck sliding sideways before rolling over possibly five times.

All the men were ejected from the truck. Risher, who may have been thrown out ahead of the truck, wound up being pinned underneath. Police said bystanders at the scene helped to free him.

Henry and one witness, who drove behind Risher's truck, said the light was yellow when the cars collided, DeCarlis said.

Another witness, who prepared to turn right on NW Sixth Avenue, said the light was green when the crash occurred. DeCarlis said no witnesses said the light was red.

No charges or traffic citations have been filed pending review of the accident by the State Attorney's Office, DeCarlis said.

DeCarlis hopes to submit the crash report to the prosecutor's office early next week.

-- Suzannah Gonzales can be reached at 860-7312 or sgonzales@sptimes.com.

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