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News Weatherford and Parker County

Life sentence for habitual offender after 100 mph chase

From the Parker County District Attorney’s Office:

A Parker County jury sentenced a Weatherford man who pled guilty to fleeing from a Parker County sheriff’s deputy at speeds of up to 100 m.p.h. in northern Parker County to life in prison in a trial that concluded in district court in Weatherford on Wednesday afternoon.

Harold Dewayne Ferguson, 58, pled guilty to evading arrest with a vehicle on Monday and elected to have a jury determine his punishment.

“The most significant factor in this case was the fact that Mr. Ferguson had 13 prior felony convictions and 187 years of prison sentences in his past,” said Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain, who tried the case for the State with Assistant District Attorney Abby Placke.  “In 2009, our office gave him a 38 year prison sentence for a felony drug offense, but he was released on parole by 2013 after he completed a six month inpatient drug treatment program while in prison.  He was on parole for that case as well as for 1993 sentences of 35 years and 30 years from Taylor and Palo Pinto Counties at the time of our offense.”

Around 2:30 a.m. on July 7, 2015, a deputy saw Ferguson run a stop sign on a motorcycle in northern Parker County and attempted to pull him over, according to trial testimony.  But when Ferguson accelerated instead of stopping, a pursuit ensued at high speeds, through two people’s back yards, and finally concluding when Ferguson wrecked his motorcycle.  He then attempted to flee on foot, but lost a shoe and made it about 50 yards before he was tackled by the deputy, pepper sprayed, and finally handcuffed.

Ferguson testified that he had a baggie with about 3 grams of methamphetamine that he dropped on the ground as the deputy was leading him from where he was apprehended to the patrol car.  He said that he fled because he was high on methamphetamine and didn’t want to get caught with the baggie.

After the jury’s verdict, Ferguson pled guilty to that possession of a controlled substance charge and elected to have District Judge Craig Towson assess his punishment.  Towson, who presided over the jury trial, considered all of the evidence presented at the trial and sentenced Ferguson to life in prison for the drug offense.  By law, that sentence will run concurrently with the sentence for the evading arrest with a vehicle offense.

During the trial, a second deputy testified that in December, 2015, Ferguson fled from him on foot, through thick briars, and would not stop until he was tazered twice.  After being arrested, Ferguson lied at length about his name because he had a warrant for the other evading arrest case as well as for violating his parole.

In the trial, court judgments were introduced showing Ferguson had prior convictions for aggravated assault on a peace officer, burglary of a habitation, felony escape, illegal investment, aggravated possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, two felon in possession of a firearm cases, and six possession of a controlled substance cases.

“This was a strong case for a stiff sentence,” Swain said.  “This defendant had been given numerous chances to change with very early release on parole and excellent long term rehabilitation.   Instead of changing, he kept making the choice to continue on with criminal behavior.”

Jurors deliberated for about 20 minutes before returning with their verdict.

“Mr. Ferguson will be eligible for parole when his actual time served plus his good time equals 15 years,” Swain said.  “Of course, eligibility for parole does not mean entitlement to be paroled.  That will be up to the Board of Pardons and Paroles.”

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