A Benton County judge reduced the bail amount Tuesday in the case of a Toledo man who was allegedly impaired when he struck two men who were collecting trash along Highway 20 in January.
Authorities say Ricky Ray Ferguson was under the influence of controlled substances when he crossed the fog line and struck the two men, who were volunteering to pick up trash. The crash killed 70-year-old Robert James Ozretich. The other man, 85-year-old Allan Edward Deutsch, suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Ferguson faces charges of first-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, failure to perform duties of a driver to injured persons, driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving and tampering with physical evidence.
Ferguson’s attorney, Clark Willes, argued that Ferguson’s bail should be reduced to $50,000. Willes said Ferguson’s family could pay $5,000, or 10 percent, of that amount for Ferguson to be released from custody. Willes said Ferguson would reside with his son, Tanner Ferguson, who is an Oregon Department of Corrections officer.
The younger man testified, stating he would prevent his father from having access to a car and would report to authorities if his father consumed alcohol or drugs. The man’s wife and another of Ferguson’s sons, Dylan Ferguson, also testified, stating they would help supervise the defendant.
Deputy District Attorney Andrew Jordan said Ferguson faces two Measure 11 charges and that Oregon law calls for a minimum security amount of $50,000 on each of those charges. He said there are aggravating factors in the case, including that Ferguson has a previous conviction for driving under the influence of intoxicants.
Jordon also said Ferguson fled the scene of the Jan. 13 crash and tried to alter his Ford F-250 by taking off the hood and removing decals from the rear window. Jordan told the judge he believed the previously imposed $1 million bond was appropriate in the case, and he asked that the judge not reduce the security amount to below $500,000.
Circuit Court Judge Matthew Donohue reduced Ferguson’s bail to $500,000. The judge said Ferguson faces serious allegations and that Ferguson has shown a willingness to evade law enforcement by tampering with his truck following the crash. Donohue said those factors are aggravated by Ferguson’s criminal history. The judge also stated he didn’t think the supervision his family could offer would be sufficient, given his sons have jobs and children.
Donohue said $1 million bail was not necessary in the case given the presumptive bail amounts and because Ferguson has not been convicted for failing to appear to a court hearing.
Prior to the judge making his ruling, Ozretich’s wife, Rachel Ozretich, addressed the court. She said she opposed a bail reduction because Ferguson has shown a lack of consideration for how his actions harm others.
“If he is released, we will have let loose a man who has shown he can’t control his dangerous behavior,” Ozretich said.
Jordan read a statement from Allan Deutsch, who said he was fortunate to survive when the crash killed his colleague working alongside him. Jordan also read statements from Deutsch’s family members, who said Deutsch faces a long recovery and may never make a full recovery. They said the injuries Deutsch suffered keep him from enjoying the active lifestyle he had before the crash.