In Memory of Dustin “Rooster” Ferguson, Taken 4 Year Ago, SaturdaySeptember 22nd, 2012 by Joe Burgess
MADD Mock DWI / 4/13/2009
“In memory of Rooster”
September 2, 2011
(Based from a comment posted on Dustin’s birthday 2011, by his mom.)
It’s hard to believe that you have been gone three years, today.
We miss you everyday but have much comfort knowing “my soul finds rest in GOD alone: my salvation comes from HIM. He alone is my rock and my salvation: He is my fortress, I will never be shaken”.
I am sure that you have had the best birthday celebration ever and I am sure you are dancing around.If I know you: probally trying to teach the angels how to do the “motorcycle” dance that your NENE never mastered!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my baby boy!
Love you, forever and always,
Jury Sentences Bates to 16 Years for Fatal Car Crash that Killed 19 Year Old
August 26, 2010
A Drew County jury took approximately 3 hours to determine the sentence for Jennifer Irene Bates, Wednesday afternoon, after one juror who didn’t want to send Bates to prison was replaced. The dismissed juror told MonticelloLive, “That’s not the same lady that was drinking and driving that day,” referring to Bates’ current mental state.
The jury then sentenced her to serve 10 years on the negligent homicide case, and another 6 for the aggravated assault charge.
The charges are to run consecutively, for a total of 16 years, but Bates could be eligible for parole in less than 3 years.
A representative of the Arkansas Dept. of Correction had testified that they could provide care for disabled inmates, as needed.
Posted August 25, 2010
Jury Finds Bates Guilty of All Charges for Fatal Car Crash that Killed 19 Year Old
Testimony began at 8:30 this morning, and concluded at 8:45 in the guilt portion of the trial of Jennifer Irene Bates, who is charged with negligent homicide (or a possible alternate charge of manslaughter) for the September 22, 2008, death of Dustin “Rooster” Ferguson.
The jury was chosen by noon Tuesday, and the state presented it’s case, except for the blood alcohol witness, who testified this morning.
Tuesday’s witnesses for the state included an employee from Sonic, who testified that less than 10 minutes before she heard sirens responding to the fatal crash that day, she saw Bates drinking vodka and appearing to be intoxicated when she was ordering a soft drink and a corn dog at Sonic. One of the vodka bottles was left at the business, as was presented as evidence.
Four witnesses testified as to the speed of Bates’ vehicle, and that she was driving north, faster than the speed of traffic, in the turning lane, and also in the oncoming southbound lane, prior to the crash.
Testimony was also given by the Arkansas State Trooper that investigated the wreck.
Wednesday, a representative of the Arkansas Dept. of Alcohol Testing testified that Bates’ blood sample was analyzed to be. 0.27, more than three times the legal limit.
Closing arguments began just after 9 o’clock. Then the jury deliberated until 10:15, when they came back with guilty verdicts on all 3 charges, negligent homicide, manslaughter, and aggravated assault.
The aggravated assault charge is for damage and injury to the driver of another vehicle that was also involved, and the accident.
Judge Bynum Gibson removed the charge of manslaughter from the jury’s decision, since it was basically a duplication of the charge of negligent homicide, except without the alcohol stipulation. Also, both charges carry the possible sentence of 3-10 years.
The sentencing part of the trial began next, and included testimony from Dustin Ferguson’s father and sister about how Dustin’s death has affected their lives.
Two family doctors and a neurosurgeon were called to the stand to tell about her health conditions.
A psychiatrist and a psychologist were also called to explain Bates’ mental and cognitive situation.
An LPN from Bates’ nursing home told about her daily activites and limitations. She told the jury that Bates needs help with dressing, bathing, and medication. She was then asked about a signed form that stated that Bates’ understands the facilities smoking policies, and would be allowed to smoke, if she wanted to.
Ms. Bates took the stand, and said that she couldn’t remember that day, but that her family told her about it. She also apologized for the events that occurred that September afternoon.
Bates’ sister testified about her condition, and about her limited activities, adding that Bates has an 85-90 year old roommate.
A psychologist testified that he felt Bates was “faking” during part of her IQ test, and explained his opinion.
During the closing arguments, Prosecutor Frank Spain told the jury, “the defense will tell you that she’s suffered enough, but her condition is a result of her actions,” and that “giving her probation is not the message you want to send.”
Public defender Tim Leonard, assisted in the case by Sandra Bradshaw, suggested that the jury give Bates probation. He told the jury, “I’m not representing the Jennifer Bates that was drinking and driving, but the childlike nursing home resident that is here today.”
Judge Gibson told the court, “the jury may only consider her health conditions if they choose to.”
The prosecution pointed out, in response to Bates and her sister’s desire for her to be able to speak to groups and tell her story, that testimony said that she has no memory of that day, and also that she didn’t have to be sentenced to “tell her story”, and she hasn’t done so yet. Spain added, “All DWI’s are dangerous, and she did that at 2:50 in the afternoon on the most dangerous road in this town.
The jury went into the sentencing phase at 2:05.
Posted at 4 pm, August 24, 2010
The trial for Jennifer Irene Bates finished its day around 3 pm, Tuesday afternoon, with the state expecting to call their final witness, to testify about blood alcohol content.
The prosecution isn’t expected to call any witnesses in this stage of the trial.
The case will likely be handed over to the jury to determine the guilt or innocence of Bates by 10 am.
The sentencing portion of the trial, if needed, would begin after the verdict comes back from the jury, with victim impact statements from the family members of both sides of the case.
Posted at 12:30, August 24, 2010
Jury Chosen for Bates Trial for Fatal Car Crash; Opening Argument Begin at 1:30
A 12 person jury, along with 2 alternates has been chosen for the trial of Jennifer Irene Bates, charged with negligent homicide (or a possible alternate charge of manslaughter) for the September 22, 2008, death of Dustin “Rooster” Ferguson. Bates has also been charged with aggravated assault in the alleged alcohol related accident for damage and injury to the driver of another vehicle that was also involved.
MonticelloLive.com will update the case later today.
The trial is expected to last two days.
Posted Aug. 11, 2010
Bates Trial for Dustin’s Driving Death Set for August 24-25
Jennifer Bates had court hearings on Monday and Tuesday in the Drew County Circuit Court, dealing with motions and issues involved in the September 22, 2008 automobile crash, near Wendy’s and Walmart, which claimed the life of Dustin “Rooster” Ferguson.
Bates’ public defender presented motions dealing with mental evaluations of Bates’ condition after she sustained brain injuries in the wreck, and also a motion to move the trial to another county, due to pre-formed opinions by prospective jurors.
Judge Bynum Gibson ruled on the motions, and set the court date for August 24-25.
Judge Gibson ruled that the court record shows reports from both a psychiatrist and a psychologist at this time, and encouraged the public defender to seek another professional opinion, if they felt the need, as long as it didn’t affect the court date.
Dr. Kim, a licensed state clinical psychologist, testified, Monday, that he felt Bates had the ability to assist in her defense against these charges. Tuesday, an LPN from the nursing home where Bates lives testified to her abilities and daily activities.
Judge Gibson ruled that Bates would be able to assist her defense council in her case, to an appropriate level to allow the case to proceed.
Next the defense presented affidavits from members of the public, stating that they felt there could not be a fair trial in Drew County. A friend of the Bates family testified about comments that she had heard in various places around town.
The editor of the local paper, followed the owner of MonticelloLive, were asked about their news coverage, and if it would likely prevent an impartial jury from being seated.
Judge Gibson ruled that, if both jury panels were called, that there should be at least 12 jurors and an alternate to serve on the case.
A possible plea bargain was discussed , Monday, but the time for plea bargains had passed, due to a June 28 ruling.
Also, the prosecution added manslaughter as a possible alternative charge, for the jury to consider.
Posted March 2, 2010
Charges Filed Against Driver for Dustin Ferguson’s Death in Sept. 2008 Car Crash
Jennifer Bates, of Star City, the driver of the vehicle that caused the fatal collision on September 22, 2008, that claimed the life of 19 year old Dustin “Rooster” Ferguson, has been charged with negligent homicide and aggravated assault, in Drew County Circuit Court by the prosecuting attorney’s office.
Bates had not been charged previously, because of her medical condion following the wreck.
The charge of negligent homicide includes the words “while intoxicated or with an alcohol concentration of in excess of .08%”.
In Memory of Dustin Ferguson
Posted Sept. 21, 2009.
The number of friends and acquaintances that have come to be heard from since Dustin’s untimely death has shown just how much of an impact that his short life has made on so many people.
When MADD presented their annual Mock DWI Accident at MHS, this year’s event was done in memory of Dustin. MonticelloLive video taped the portrayal of what really happens at the scene of an alcohol related, fatality car crash, and it has been viewed over 400 times, click here to see the video.
This special edition of One Monticello Life was written by a relative of Dustin’s shortly after his death, and is tribute to how one young man, living for God, can change the world around him.
What an honor it is for me to be able to write such a tribute to such a fine young man. What sorrow it is for me to sit here and wipe away tears thinking of how much he will be missed. A fine spirit, a big heart, and a love for everyone. Dustin Ferguson.
Dustin, better known as Rooster, was born September 20, 1989 to Ray and Tina Ferguson. Dustin grew up in Monticello and was a graduate of Monticello High School, and a Student at UAM. He was a free spirited guy who loved God, life, and people. Dustin was outgoing, and loved to tell stories, jokes, or just do something out of the ordinary to make people laugh. He loved to smile, and wanted to see others with a smile on their face. You could be having the worst day, and after spending about five minutes with Dustin, you forgot every problem, care or worry you had.
Dustin had many hobbies. He loved to hunt, fish, and spend time with his family and friends. Dustin also had another hobby: his faith, which he shared with countless people. His life was a testimony to the many he came in contact with.
Dustin lived his life to the fullest, never knowing if that day may have been his last. His heart was bigger than anyone I know, and he was always willing to give or to help someone in need, always putting others first. You could see Dustin’s testimony in his love, his giving and in all that he did. It was nothing to see Dustin out at Wal-Mart or a gas station in boxers, his boots and a hat. He made that wardrobe famous! But no matter what he was wearing, or where he was at, you could always count on a kind word and a smile from him.
Dustin built his life on friendship, and would fight giants for his friends or family, even if it meant getting “a little roughed up.” He always had a crowd of people around him, or could attract one very easily. If you ever needed something, Dustin was there instantly to lend a hand, a shoulder to cry on, or just a smile. It is hard to understand why God would take someone so young, who had his whole life in front of him. But we are taught not to question God, that He does all things for a reason.
Dustin believed that.
Even though he isn’t here with us on earth, you can bet that a day won’t pass, that he isn’t watching over every one of us. No one knew what the future held for Dustin, but God did, and He knew that life would be better for him in Heaven. That doesn’t make the pain any easier for any of us, and it will take weeks, months, and maybe years to get over his loss. But he will be with us in our heart, and our memories of him will help each of us get through those difficult days.
Dustin was a giver, and he gave his heart to help others, be an example, and to share his faith. Let’s not let Rooster down. Let’s continue what he did everyday: loving, helping, sharing and smiling. Rest in Peace Dustin, for we will see you real soon. Thank you for being an example to us all, and thank you for being such a great One Monticello Life
The story below posted on September 23, 2008
Tuesday 4 PM Update–Fatality Wreck Near Wendys & Wal-Mart-Monday
The driver of the Chevy Silverado, shown on the left, was reportedly traveling north on HWY 425 North, near Wendy’s and Wal-Mart around 2:45, Monday afternoon, when she pulled into the turning lane, and crossed into oncoming traffic in the inside southbound lane.
Dustin Ferguson, age 19, of Monticello, was traveling south in the Ford Ranger pick-up, shown on the right, when the Silverado struck him head on. According to witnesses, Mr. Ferguson died at the scene.
After the original impact, the Ford struck a third vehicle, which sustained minor damage.
The driver of the Chevy, will be listed as being at fault, has been identified as Jennifer Bates, age 29, of Star City. She was ejected from the vehicle as it continued northbound. She has since been transferred to Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff, where as of 6:30 Tuesday morning, she remained in critical condition. As of 4 PM, JRMC had made no notification of a change in her status.
The accident was investigated by Arkansas State Trooper Clayton Moss, with assistance on the scene from the Monticello Police Dept. and Drew County Sheriff’s Dept. The fire and rescue units also responded.
Testing will be done, as with all fatality accidents, to determine if there were any contributing factors to the events that took place.
Following the news of the accident, around 150 youth of our area gathered at Drew Memorial Hospital, and started a prayer vigil. Rev. Jimmy Albrecht and Rev. Ray Hearron, of Second Baptist Church, and Bro William West, youth pastor of Shady Grove Baptist, were also there to minister to those in need.