Coach Fuller cleared in wife’s death

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 10, 2000

Warren Central coach Donny Fuller was cleared Wednesday in the July death of his wife, fatally injured after falling off the trunk of a car as he drove onto Mississippi 27.

District Attorney Gil Martin announced Wednesday morning that Fuller would not be charged.

“Coach Fuller has been fully cooperative with the investigators. There is no evidence to contradict Coach Fuller’s version of the events,” Martin said.

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Fuller declined comment Wednesday afternoon.

Linda Fuller, 47, who lived with her husband in the house at the end of a driveway from the school where he works, died July 5, hours after hitting her head on the pavement in the fall.

Donny Fuller, who coaches girls basketball, told authorities he and his wife had argued and he was leaving their house around 11 p.m. to calm down.

He said he didn’t realize his wife was on the back of his Nissan Pulsar as he pulled away from their home on Mississippi 27 between Warren Central and Beechwood schools. He said after he spotted her, he pulled over and that is when she fell off. She died less than three hours later at ParkView Regional Medical Center.

“I am of the opinion that Coach Fuller is blameless for the death of his wife and that she contributed to the accident by jumping onto the bumper of the moving vehicle and died accidentally,” Martin said.

At the time of Linda Fuller’s death, Master Sgt. Walter Armstrong with the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol said the case was being treated as a domestic dispute and not an accident.

“The autopsy found no injuries inconsistent with the fall,” Martin said.

Armstrong said Wednesday he didn’t want to comment on the decision.

“This was in the hands of the criminal investigation department, so they need to make any comment,” he said.

The statement issued by Martin said, “This determination is shared by Lt. Johnnie Bowden, the Mississippi Highway Patrol Investigator and Coroner L.W. Callaway III.”