Crimetracker: DUI expert explains bond in 8th DUI offense case

MONROE COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- William Ferguson III was arrested early Sunday morning after a 20 minute, high-speed chase. It started after a traffic stop in Knox County, where Ferguson knocked the deputy over and sped off in his mustang. It ended when Ferguson spun out in the median off of exit 62 in Monroe County.

He faces a slew of assault charges, plus resisting arrest, reckless driving, driving on a revoked license and 8th offense DUI.

"Kinda suprised me that he was already out of jail. I don't know how the court system works, we don't make the laws, we enforce them," said Chief Randy Kirkland, with the Vonore Police Department.

Ferguson has a lengthy record including multiple DUI convictions and revoked license charges. And this isn't his first chase: in 2011, Vonore officers pursued him for 26 miles.

"Went up a bank, came back down and actually hit one of my patrol cars head-on. Did $2500 worth of damge to it. And he also his a Madisonville patrol car," said Kirkland.

Among other charges, Ferguson pleaded guilty to 7th offense DUI. He got four years on each charge. Yet he was back on the road illegally. The bond for his latest offense was $39,000 - $7500 coming from the DUI charge. DUI expert Steve Oberman said that's average:

"Typically in Knox County, a DUI first offense will run anywhere from $500 to $1500. After a first offense, it can go up to $5,000 to $10,000," said Oberman, an attorney with Oberman & Rice.

So what can be done to keep repeat offenders off the roads and away from your family?

"The focus, in my opinion, should be based more on treatment and prevention instead of just punishment. Because what happens is exactly what happened in this case - an alcoholic is going to get out of jail, they are then going to commit another crime. Whether or not they have a drivers license, they're going to find a way to drive," said Oberman.

Deputies said Ferguson smelled like alcohol when they pulled him over Sunday. They said he resisted a blood alcohol test when he was arrested and spit blood at officers several times.

Ferguson is due in court April 3.


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