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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An officer-involved shooting turns deadly in LaRue County. The officer says he felt he had no choice but to shoot a man driving recklessly, because he says the man tried to run him over with his car.
Kentucky State Police say the LaRue County Dispatch received a report of a reckless driver on KY 1192, near the Green County line just before 9:30 p.m.
"I didn't know what was going on just that there was a cop down there and there was gunfire," said Veronica Polston, who lives near the scene of the shooting. Polston started getting word of what led up to gunfire just down from her home in LaRue County.
"Family members that heard it on the scanner that he was on Alvin brooks road and he was doing donuts in people's yard and running into ditches and stuff and somebody called the law on him for reckless driving," said Polston.
"A deputy was in the area, the deputy got behind the suspect vehicle. Observed it driving recklessly," said Trooper Norman Chaffins, with Kentucky State Police. Chaffins says the car seemed to have no intention of stopping.
Kentucky State Police Trooper Norman Chaffins says the driver, 38 year old Thomas Ferguson, took 24-year-old LaRue County Sheriff's Deputy James Williamson on a chase on KY 1192.
This is where police say Ferguson lost control. His car spun, facing the deputy. "The car came to a stop and then the deputy got out and accelerated towards the deputy," said Chaffins.
"And all of a sudden I heard pow pow pow pow pow!" said Polston.
"The deputy pulled out his weapon and fired into the vehicle, struck the suspect in the head," said Chaffins.
Ferguson was taken to University Hospital in Louisville, where he later died. Kentucky State Police hope dash cam video will help their investigation. Ferguson apparently had a history of problems on the road. "Including several speeding charges, reckless driving charges and other traffic violations," said Chaffins.
Chaffins says police found alcohol in his car, and they believe it played a role in his driving. Some locals do not feel the shooting was justified. "And that's exactly what it was, was cold blooded murder," said Polston.
But Chaffins says Williamson may have saved lives on the road last night. "The last thing anybody, and police officer has to have to do is pull out their weapon and know that they're going to have to shoot someone, and feel that their life is in danger," said Chaffins.
Kentucky State Police say Williamson is likely on paid leave, however, The LaRue County Sheriff's Office has not commented.
Ferguson was taken to Hardin Memorial Hospital, and then to University Hospital in Louisville. He was pronounced dead Saturday morning.
Police say Williamson was not injured in the shooting.
Alcohol was found in Ferguson's car and is believed to be a factor in the reckless driving. Police say he had a suspended license and had a long history of traffic violations, including speeding and reckless driving.
Kentucky State Police are investigating, at the request of the LaRue County Sheriff's Office.