Police investigating officer’s third auto accident

By Jared Tucker: Freedom New Mexico

Saturday’s rollover accident involving Portales Police Officer Lee Ferguson — the officer’s third on-duty accident in four years — remained under investigation Monday night, police said.

State Police Capt. Jimmy Glascock said the investigation into the accident is ongoing and no charges had been filed Monday night against either Ferguson or the 75-year-old Portales man driving the car Ferguson was trying to avoid when he crashed.

“There are a couple of issues we’re dealing with at hand regarding the responsibility to yield and seat-belt usage,” Glascock said.

After reviewing the dash-cam video on the police car and comparing it to evidence at the scene, Glascock said officers estimated 60 mph might have been the minimum speed Ferguson was traveling when he crashed.

“I don’t know that we will know exactly how fast he was going,” Glascock said.

Glascock said he hoped officers will conclude their investigation today.

Ferguson was released from the hospital Saturday and is back at work. Portales Deputy Police Chief Lonnie Berry said Ferguson’s duties have not changed as a result of the car accident.

Attempts to contact Ferguson for comment were unsuccessful.

According to police records, Ferguson has been involved in two other on-duty collisions, one as a Portales police officer on Oct. 12, 2008, and one on Jan. 4, 2007, when Ferguson was working for the village of Melrose.

Ferguson received a citation for failure to yield in the Melrose accident, and was given a deferred sentence and a $55 fine, according to court records. The charge of failing to obey traffic control devices in the Oct. 12, 2008, accident was dismissed when the prosecuting officer failed to appear in court.

Berry said Officer Ferguson was responding to a call of a possible child abduction when Saturday’s accident occurred. That call turned out to be a child custody dispute and no report was taken.