Knox County District Attorney General - Charme P. Allen

Driver Convicted in Fatal North Knox County Wreck

Posted: 09/09/2019

Prosecutors in DA Charme Allen’s DUI Unit obtained convictions against a drunk driver who killed his passenger then tried to blame her for the wreck.  Harlan Virgil Ferguson, 32, was convicted of Vehicular Homicide, Evading Arrest, Reckless Endangerment, and Driving Under the Influence.  Following the conviction, Judge Bob McGee set the case for sentencing on November 7.

In a four-day trial, Assistant District Attorneys Heather Good and Joe Welker explained to the jury that on February 3, 2016, around 7:30 PM, Ferguson was driving recklessly, passing a vehicle on Emory Road in the wrong lane of traffic, crossing the double yellow line.  That vehicle was an unmarked police car driven by Knox County Sheriff’s Office Chief David Henderson who was in the area assisting on another case.  Henderson radioed ahead to another officer who activated his emergency equipment and tried to block Ferguson from endangering any other motorists.  Ferguson left the roadway and entered a ditch to get around the police car before continuing down the road.  Officers lost sight of Ferguson briefly until they saw him crossing the intersection of Emory Road and Bell Road in the wrong lane of traffic.  Approximately one-half mile past the intersection, Ferguson ran off the road, striking a tree head-on, partially ejecting his passenger.  Officers pulled Ferguson from the driver’s seat as the vehicle became engulfed in flames.  The passenger was transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center where she died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.  Ferguson suffered a broken leg and hip and was extracted from the driver’s seat, yet at trial, he claimed he switched positions with the passenger after the wreck.  The hospital drew Ferguson’s blood, and testing revealed his blood alcohol concentration to be 0.18, more than twice the legal limit.

Vehicular Homicide is a Class B felony that carries a punishment between eight and twelve years.  At sentencing, prosecutors will seek an enhanced sentence due to the nature of the offense.

If you have any questions, please contact Sean McDermott at 865-215-2515 or sean.mcdermott@knoxcounty.org.  For more information about the District Attorney’s Office, visit our website at www.knoxcounty.org/dag and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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