Families react to suspected drunken-driving crash that killed Wi - KPTV - FOX 12

Families react to suspected drunken-driving crash that killed Wilsonville man

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Crash victim Chris Kelleher and his wife, Gina. (Family photo/KPTV) Crash victim Chris Kelleher and his wife, Gina. (Family photo/KPTV)
The site of Friday's crash off Highway 551 in Wilsonville (KPTV) The site of Friday's crash off Highway 551 in Wilsonville (KPTV)
Kenneth Pepperling, jail booking photo Kenneth Pepperling, jail booking photo
WILSONVILLE, OR (KPTV) -

Family members on both sides are speaking out after a suspected drunken-driving crash led to a man's death in Wilsonville on Friday.  

Oregon State Police said Christopher Kelleher, 56, of Wilsonville, had just stepped out of his van along Highway 551 on Friday, when he was hit and killed by another driver, Kenneth Pepperling, 59.

Police said Pepperling was driving drunk at the time, and had a felony DUII warrant out for his arrest.

He’s now in the Clackamas County Jail facing charges of manslaughter, DUII, reckless driving, recklessly endangering and driving while suspended. He’s being held on $850,000 bail.

Court records show Pepperling already has a criminal record including two DUII convictions, hit-and-run and spent time in jail this last spring for driving while suspended.

He made his first court appearance in a Clackamas County courtroom Monday, where a relative of his told FOX 12: “We’re sorry. He’s a good man who made a bad choice.”

Meanwhile, the family of Chris Kelleher are grieving his death.

His family told FOX 12 he was a veteran of the Navy, and while he and his wife didn’t have a lot to give, they gave everything they had to help other people.

They said that’s what he was doing Friday night: Giving out supplies to people in the homeless community just off the highway. His wife, who has a brain tumor, was inside the van when the crash happened.

Family members said he was her sole caregiver.

In a statement, Kelleher’s family wrote:

He was a loving father to 3 beautiful kids Tony, Nathan and Amanda. Amanda just gave him his first grandson Cainen. His wife Gina has a brain tumor and he was her sole care taker. His mom and dad Linda and Joe are struggling to process the loss. He was also survived by his siblings Cindy, Greg, Pat and Mark who will now have to try and help with grandma and grandpa. That was what Chris did. His and Gina days were filled with helping others. They didnt have a lot to give but they gave all there time to there family and friends.

At the site of the crash, there’s now a wooden cross to remember the man who lost his life there.

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