Funeral home director pleads guilty to drunk driving.

April 14, 2016
Clock Funeral Home of Ludington.

Clock Funeral Home of Ludington.

MUSKEGON – Thomas Claude Clock III, a former Whitehall and Ludington funeral director facing felony fraud charges for alleged empty-box burials, has pleaded guilty to one of two drunk-driving cases against him, according to mlive.com.

Clock’s guilty plea to driving while intoxicated, second offense, was accepted Wednesday, April 13, 2016, by Muskegon County District Judge Andrew Wierengo III on Wednesday, April 13. Wierengo ordered Clock to have an alcohol assessment done and scheduled sentencing for 1:30 p.m. May 23. He has a prior conviction of operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) in 2010.

The conviction will be for a Jan. 9, 2016 incident in Whitehall. Following the arrest, a series of events let to the discovery of Clock’s alleged frauds.

Thomas Clock III

Thomas Clock III

After he was jailed on Jan. 9, law enforcement discovered a deceased woman’s body in the back of his van parked at his Whitehall funeral home. Law-enforcement officials have said Clock falsely told the woman’s family they were burying her cremated ashes on Dec. 28, 2015, at Fruitland Township Cemetery.

Clock faces trial in Muskegon County Circuit Court on charges of common-law fraud and attempted larceny by conversion of between $1,000 and $20,000, both felonies, for that case. Clock has also been charged in that case with providing mortuary services without a license because his license expired Oct. 31, 2015.

Clock waived his district-court preliminary examination in the first fraud case on Monday, April 11, and was bound over for trial.

Clock was arrested in the City of Montague on March 11 for another drunk driving charge. Because he has not yet been convicted on the second offense OWI, he could only be charged again with second offense, a misdemeanor. Third offense OWI is a felony. Clock had only been freed on bond for three days when the March 11 arrest happened.

In that case he’s scheduled for a district-court pretrial conference Wednesday, April 20.

Clock also faces a second felony case of common-law fraud for allegedly burying an empty box that the parents of a deceased infant boy thought contained their child’s ashes. That incident occurred on April 2015, also in Fruitland Township Cemetery. A preliminary examination is scheduled for April 21 in that case.

Clock owns a funeral home on South Washington Avenue in Ludington. He has been either in jail or in the hospital under guard since his March 11 arrest in the latest drunk-driving case. In that case, District Judge Maria Ladas Hoopes set his bond at an extraordinarily high $500,000 cash or surety.

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