KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Harlan Virgil Ferguson was found guilty of vehicular homicide, evading arrest, reckless endangerment, and DUI on Monday.
Ferguson, 32, was involved in a Feb. 3, 2016, wreck that killed his fiancee 28-year-old Sarah Howe.
At trial, Ferguson claimed he switched positions in the car with Howe 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.
Around 7:30 p.m. Ferguson passed an unmarked car driven by Knox County Sheriff’s Office Chief David Henderson on Emory Road in the wrong lane, crossing the double yellow line, according to a news release.
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.
Ferguson ran off the road, striking a tree head-on, partially ejecting Howe. Officers pulled Ferguson from the driver’s seat as the vehicle became engulfed in flames.
Howe 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.
Vehicular homicide is a Class B felony that carries a punishment between eight and 12 years. Sentencing is set for Nov. 7. Prosecutors will seek an enhanced sentence due to the nature of the offense, the release states.