Country music legend Loretta Lynn is heartbroken after learning her son is facing jail for the accidental death of a pal.

The COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER singer's 51-year-old son ERNEST is charged with killing his best pal LARRY CLAXTON, 52, through vehicular homicide while driving under the influence (DUI).

The tragedy happened on 4 October (04) in Waverly, Tennessee, near Lynn's Hurricane Hills ranch, following an afternoon barbecue. Ernest was driving to a country store with Larry in the passenger seat when he ran off the road and into a fence.

Larry was killed after a post struck him on the back of his head.

A source tells American tabloid the GLOBE, "(Loretta) asks God to make sure that Larry rests in peace and mentions just how close he was to her son. They were lifelong buddies, almost like brothers.

"Drinking and driving is a real problem in Tennessee. There's no way anybody could have let this slip by because Ernie was convicted in March 2000 of another DUI. It all went to a grand jury and the indictment came down for both vehicular homicide and driving under the influence.

"He says that it was a pure accident and hopes that the court will see it that way."

23/05/2004 21:16