Truck Driver Plea

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A Kentucky truck driver has pleaded guilty to the traffic accident death of a Nashville police officer who had stopped to help a motorist with a flat tire.

James Lee Fitzgerald, of Somerset, Kentucky, received three years probation today for the July accident that killed Officer Christy Dedman. Motorist Jaimee Underwood was also seriously injured in the accident.

Fitzgerald has been given a three-year jail sentence for pleading guilty to charges of vehicular homicide and aggravated assault. But a plea bargain allows his sentence to be suspended with three years probation.

Police claim Fitzgerald was driving more than 80 miles per hour when his tractor trailer slammed into the back of Dedman's cruiser. Fitzgerald was a driver for Arkansas-based Continental Express.

But analysis of a data recorder in Fitzgerald's truck shows he was driving 71 miles per hour in the 70 mile per hour speed zone. Defense attorney Patrick McNally says Fitzgerald couldn't switch lanes because of traffic, and tried to brake before hitting the police cruiser.

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