Timeline in 2008 Thomas case
• The body of Guy Thomas, 45, was found in the parking lot of the Ironton Police Department underneath the cruiser of officer Richard Fouts. Fouts was accused of dragging Thomas 10 blocks from near the Ninth Street playground on a snowy night on March 8, 2008. Thomas was pronounced dead at the scene.
• An autopsy was performed by the Franklin County Coroner’s Office stated that the blood level of Thomas, a 5-foot-4-inch male weighing 135 pounds, registered a toxic to lethal concentration of alcohol. No determination was made as to the cause of death or whether Thomas was alive when the police cruiser struck him. The autopsy suggested that traumatic asphyxia, a possible seizure, an elevated ethanol level and possible hypothermia contributed to the death.
• March 10, 2008, family and friends of Thomas have a vigil at the Ninth Street playground and then march to the area where it is thought Thomas and the cruiser came into contact.
• March 12, 2008, local officials say Thomas was not standing when he and the cruiser came into contact, suggesting he was lying in the roadway at the time of the incident. The findings, they say, are based on the lack of impact damage to the cruiser.
• Guy Thomas is laid to rest at Woodland Cemetery on March 14, 2008.
• April 5, 2008, friends and family stage a second march and vigil in memory of Thomas.
• Fouts resigned on April 11, 2008.
• The investigation into the Guy Thomas death is turned over to Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr. on March 24, 2008.
• In May 2008, a Lawrence County grand jury chose not to indict Fouts, who by that time had resigned from the Ironton Police Department. Then-Lawrence County prosecutor J.B. Collier said he believed the jury was influenced by the fact that Thomas was intoxicated at the time and that the autopsy could not determine with certainty if the man was dead or alive when the cruiser made contact with his body. Fouts testified he had had a hard time pulling off (from the intersection) and it was only the second day he had driven that particular car. He said he had thought his steering problems were the result of the icy conditions.
• Collier said though he is not privy to the grand jury’s deliberations, two key pieces of evidence may have swayed them in their decision: Thomas was intoxicated at the time of the incident — his blood alcohol level was nearly four times the legal limit — and the Franklin County Coroner’s Office that performed his autopsy could not conclude with certainty the exact cause of Thomas’ death or if he was alive or dead when the cruiser ran over him.
Collier said the final report disputes an earlier suspicion that he had died from asphyxiation.
• On June 2, 2009, Louverne Miller and Juan Thomas, co-administrators of the estate of Guy Thomas, are the plaintiffs in the suit that was filed in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court. The complaint alleges that the police cruiser had a sheet of ice covering the windshield and that Fouts had scrapped a small hole in the ice on the driver’s side. It also alleges that Fouts reported he “thought he struck either a dog, or a curb or a snow bank. Fouts did not stop his vehicle to determine what he had struck.”
• Feb. 3, 2010, a lawsuit brought against the City of Ironton by the family of Guy Thomas has been officially settled with the family receiving $250,000, which was paid from city insurance coffers.
• Fouts is now the police chief of the Port William Police Department in Port William. The village is located in Clinton County, is 23 miles east of Washington Courthouse and has a population of 254 people.
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