Man loses appeal of conviction of injuring Warren Co. deputy

Published 7:39 pm Thursday, January 10, 2008

The state Court of Appeals has upheld the 15-year prison sentence given a Warren County man convicted in 2005 of driving his car around a funeral procession and hitting a county deputy sheriff.

Ronald Vaughn was charged with aggravated driving under the influence of a controlled substance in the Feb. 9, 2004 incident in which Warren County Deputy Mike Hollingsworth was injured.

Vaughn was convicted in Warren County Circuit Court in 2005. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison with 15 years to serve and five years on post-release supervision.

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Prosecutors said Vaughn was under the influence of the drug Ecstasy when his car slammed into the deputy, according to the court record.

Hollingsworth was outside his patrol car directing a funeral procession into Green Acres Memorial Park on U.S. 80 when Vaughn drove a Buick sedan into the left lane, past vehicles in the procession and into Hollingsworth, court documents showed.

Vaughn did not testify at his trial.

On appeal, Vaughn contended that the trial judge erred in allowing into evidence blood samples taken after the accident. Vaughn claimed he did not consent to the blood samples.

Appeals Judge William H. Myers, writing Tuesday for the Appeals Court, said the trial court record clearly showed police had reason to believe Vaughn had committed a crime at the time of the accident, and his arrest was proper.

“Police had probable cause to believe he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol due to his behavior at the scene,” Myers said.

Myers said Vaughn’s blood needed to be tested quickly in order to preserve the evidence of drugs or alcohol in his system. Therefore, Myers said the taking of the blood samples was legal.