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Man charged in hit-and-run pleads not guilty

A man accused of hitting two teenagers while driving drunk on June 17 will spend three years in prison for violating probation, but he still has a jury trial awaiting him.

During a felony court session at the Davison County Public Safety Center on Tuesday morning, Ricky Ferguson, 37, admitted to violating probation following a 2017 forgery conviction and was sentenced to five years in prison with two years suspended and credit for 106 days served. However, he pleaded not guilty to the hit-and-run charges he got while on probation.

Ferguson's jury trial is scheduled for Nov. 5, and in the meantime, he will begin his incarceration associated with the 2017 forgery case.

Judge Chris Giles decided to suspend time from the five-year sentence the state requested because Ferguson recently completed a sobriety program at The Arch Halfway House in Sioux Falls.

"I'm trying to balance some of the positive things that you did with the fact that you screwed up again," Giles said, adding that he was tired of dealing with the forgery case, for which Ferguson was originally sentenced last August.

Ferguson, who recently moved from Mitchell to Sioux Falls, said he had recently gotten a construction job and had later started working a second job at night to avoid the temptation of drinking after work.

"Mr. Ferguson is not a total failure," said Ferguson's attorney, Theresa Maule Rossow, in regard to his recent employment. "I don't know what type of program needs to be fashioned for him."

Ferguson said he had no intention of coming to Mitchell and drinking on the day he was charged with reckless driving, causing injury in a hit-and-run, eluding, resisting arrest, driving under the influence and obstructing police.

"He's not doing what he's supposed to do on probation. He never has," Chief Deputy State's Attorney Robert T. O'Keefe said. "When he's drinking, he's dangerous."