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Deputy cleared in fatal shooting

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By Linda Ireland

 A LaRue County grand jury failed Monday to indict Sheriff’s Deputy James Eric Williamson in the fatal shooting of a Magnolia man.

Kentucky State Trooper Norman Chaffins said Sgt. Kevin Johnson, KSP Post 4 Detective Sergeant, presented the investigation of the Dec. 7, 2012, shooting.

Deputy Williamson, 24, responded to a call that evening involving a reported reckless driver “doing donuts” on Alvin Brooks Road. The suspect, Thomas E. Ferguson, 38, ignored the deputy’s signal to stop and a vehicle pursuit ensued on narrow, winding backroads. 

Williamson advised dispatch that the driver wasn’t stopping and requested backup.

The chase had gone on about 10 minutes when the suspect’s vehicle spun out and came to rest facing the deputy’s cruiser.

As Deputy Williamson approached the suspect’s car, it accelerated toward him, according to KSP.

The deputy fired shots into the vehicle, striking the suspect in the head. The vehicle continued off the roadway and into a ditch.

LaRue County EMS transported the suspect to Hardin Memorial Hospital. He was transferred to University of Louisville Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“The grand jury returned with a ‘No True Bill’ decision which means that there was not sufficient evidence to bring forth criminal charges,” Chaffins said. “Therefore, Deputy Williamson has been cleared of any criminal charges.”

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Whitney Meredith said the grand jury’s decision “concluded” her office’s investigation of the case.

Deputy Williamson was placed on administrative leave during the investigation and later on office duty.

Sheriff Merle Edlin said Williamson had “headed home” after the grand jury met as Monday was his regular day off.

“I talked to him about 30 seconds,” Edlin said. “I think he was relieved.”

Edlin said Williamson would probably return to regular duty within a week after his equipment has been returned from KSP and he has reviewed with him the sheriff’s policies and procedures.

Williamson declined comment Monday.

Ferguson’s mother, Carolyn Chaudoin, had not returned a phone call as of presstime.