Street View Driver Cops To Felony For Police Chase

Google car hit 120 mph during high-speed pursuit

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Street View Plea

MARCH 27--The Google Street View driver who led police on a 120 mph chase before crashing the car into an Indiana creek has pleaded guilty to a felony charge for trying to flee from law enforcement, according to court records.

During a court hearing Monday, Coleman Ferguson, 37, copped to his reckless operation of the camera-equipped vehicle last year. As part of the March 25 plea agreement, Ferguson agreed to a one-year suspended jail sentence and restitution of $3220.97. He will also have to pay court and public defender fees.  

As part of the plea deal, the conviction of Ferguson--who is scheduled for sentencing on May 20--will be entered as a lesser Class A misdemeanor.

Ferguson, seen above, appears to have been mapping areas outside Indianapolis last July 31 when a cop spotted the Google vehicle around 5 PM hitting “speeds reaching 120 miles per hour,” according to a police report. The auto had California plates and, cops reported, “several 360 degree cameras mounted on a tall antenna.”

The blue car driven by Ferguson was wrapped with a vinyl skin carrying the Google and Street View logos and photos of the Sydney, Australia harbor. It also carried a written recommendation to, “Explore the world at”

With a cop in pursuit, Ferguson refused to stop the Google car. After passing from one county to another, Ferguson lost control of the vehicle, drove through a guardrail, and went airborne before landing in a creek (where he was handcuffed and taken into custody).

The soggy Street View ride is seen in the above police evidence photo (click to enlarge).

During the chase, police noted, motorists traveling in the opposite direction had to swerve to avoid colliding head-on with the speeding Street View car. Ferguson “stated that he worked for Google and had no reason to run other than being scared.”

He was arrested on a felony charge of resisting police with a vehicle and booked into the Henry County jail, where he spent about two weeks before posting a $10,000 bond.

It is unclear how Ferguson, working as a Google contractor, came to operate a Street View car. An Indianapolis resident, Ferguson had a rap sheet that included two separate convictions for driving with a suspended license and a third conviction for driving with expired plates. He recently worked in the facilities department of an Indiana university.

At the time of Ferguson’s collar, residents of the towns he had been mapping posted accounts to Facebook of a Street View car recklessly speeding through their neighborhoods. “This guy had to be going 120 cause he about killed me passing me!! Not sure how he still alive,” wrote one man who reported witnessing the Google car crash. (3 pages)