Trucker awaits indictment in death of trooper

| 8/13/2004

The driver of the tractor-trailer that hit the back of a police car on Interstate 40 on July 19, allegedly causing the death of officer Christy Dedman, remains in jail awaiting indictment.

According to a Nashville, TN, Metro Police Department press release, James Lee Fitzgerald, 25, of Somerset, KY, is believed to have been driving erratically and in excess of 80 mph as he traveled in the eastbound lanes of I-40 the evening of the accident.

Dedman’s marked police car, with the blue lights activated, was on the left shoulder of the interstate behind a disabled Yukon with a flat tire. Dedman and the driver of the Yukon were standing at the left front of the police car near the interstate retaining wall when the tractor-trailer rig slammed into the police vehicle, according to police reports. Dedman died at the scene. The driver of the Yukon was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and treated for her injuries.

The Davidson County District Attorney General’s office has filed charges of vehicular homicide and aggravated assault against Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald, who was driving for Continental Express Inc., of Oklahoma City, stopped the rig several hundred feet down the interstate, according to the Nashville police. He and his passenger, Barbi Maupin, 33, also of Somerset, KY, were treated at Summit Medical Center and released.

Fitzgerald is being held in lieu of posting a $3 million bond and is awaiting indictment by a Davidson Country Grand Jury.

Fitzgerald’s driving record is peppered with suspensions and a variety of other charges. His license was suspended three times in Missouri and was pending a fourth suspension to begin May 8 when the state of Kentucky issued him a CDL on April 30.

An additional suspension of Fitzgerald’s Missouri-issued license went into effect Sept. 12, resulting from a charge of failing to appear in a West Virginia court for a ticket issued in that state. The ticket was for driving on a suspended license.

The family of Dedman has requested donations be made in her memory to the Fraternal Order of Police Youth Camp, 440 Welshwood Dr., Nashville, TN 37211.