Former Savannah officer involved in deadly shooting also arrested for DUI

Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 5:42 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A Savannah Police Department officer that was at the center of an officer-involved shooting investigation was fired for an unrelated reason, according to the police department.

WTOC has confirmed 27-year-old Ernest Ferguson was arrested for driving drunk last month. He was already suspended for fatally shooting a man in June.

In the early hours of Sunday, Sept. 11, Liberty County deputies pulled Ferguson over for going nearly 40 miles over the speed limit. Deputies say they were running radar on East Oglethorpe Highway when they clocked Ferguson going 94 mph in a 55 mph zone.

But that was just the beginning.

“How much have you had to drink tonight?” the officer asked Ferguson.

“I haven’t drank tonight,” Ferguson replied.

WTOC Investigates obtained dash-cam video from the DUI arrest. In it, Ferguson is seen wearing a Savannah Police Department t-shirt. The deputy said he could smell alcohol coming from the silver Honda Accord he was driving, which authorities said also was not insured.

Ferguson claimed he had nothing to drink and he was coming from visiting his mom in Savannah. The deputy then called a GSP trooper for backup.

“OK so, since you’re a patrol officer you know how this rolls, nobody’s exempt from the law,” the trooper told Ferguson.

Ferguson later admitted to a Savannah Police investigator he’d been drinking downtown with other Savannah Police Department officers, including a shot of Jägermeister and 8 or 9 beers. Ferguson underwent a field sobriety test, where the video showed he appeared to have trouble keeping his balance.

Ferguson also submitted to a portable breathalyzer test. He blew a point .129, far above the legal limit of .08.

An investigation by Savannah Police found the now-former officer tried to deceive both the deputy and the trooper about where he had been and whether he had been drinking that night.

In an appeal of his termination, Ferguson said he had developed a drinking problem following a traumatic shooting. Ferguson was placed on administrative leave after he shot and killed Saudi Lee on June 24.