Benbrook detective accused in hit-and-run initially claimed his truck was stolen

11/14/2013 6:33 PM

11/14/2013 6:34 PM

A Benbrook police detective questioned by Fort Worth police less than an hour after his pickup was involved in a hit-and-run in August claimed that his vehicle had been stolen, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

The Fort Worth officer, however, didn’t believe Jason Carter Montgomery.

“Officer Thompson could see redness to the suspect’s chin and neck area from possible air bag deployment,” says the affidavit, obtained Thursday by the Star-Telegram.

Montgomery was not arrested that night but turned himself in Wednesday on a warrant for failure to stop and render aid at an accident causing serious bodily injury. His attorney, Jim Lane, did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Montgomery is accused of fleeing the scene after running a red light at 2500 Ridgmar Blvd. in his red 2006 Dodge Ram and striking a westbound Lincoln MKZ.

The wreck injured the Lincoln’s four occupants, one of whom has sued Montgomery and his suspected passenger, Benbrook police Sgt. Chad Peabody.

Montgomery, Peabody and Detective Jason Lee resigned from the Benbrook Police Department as an internal investigation was underway. Lee is suspected of picking the two men up in a 2013 Kia after the wreck.

Peabody has refused to cooperate with the investigation, the affidavit says, though he did consent to providing a DNA sample.

Montgomery agreed to meet with investigators Sept. 3 at Lane’s office. He provided a written statement admitting that he was driving the pickup at the time of the wreck, the affidavit says.

He also provided a DNA sample that was later found to match most of a DNA profile mixture collected from an air bag in the truck.

Sharron Neal, a Fort Worth police spokeswoman, said that the department’s portion of the case is closed and that only Montgomery will be charged.

Montgomery and Peabody had more than 15 years on the force, and Lee had at least 10, the Benbrook police chief has said.

Early morning wreck

Fort Worth police were called to the wreck at 2:15 a.m. Aug. 24.

Witnesses told officers that the Ram’s driver and passenger left the scene, initially walking north and then running after a witness yelled at them.

The Lincoln’s occupants were unable to identify the driver and passenger.

Officers noted a CLEAT — Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas — sticker on the Ram’s back window and found business cards belonging to Montgomery, the registered owner, in the glove box.

A police helicopter searched the area before officers went to Montgomery’s residence. Near his home, the helicopter crew noticed a suspicious vehicle — a 2013 Kia.

Police pulled over the Kia after the driver failed to use a turn signal. Lee was identified as the driver and Montgomery the passenger, the affidavit says.

“When questioned where his Dodge pickup truck was, the suspect said it had been stolen,” the affidavit says.

Lawsuit seeks $100,000

The lawsuit, filed by the Lincoln’s driver, Jeffrey Panfil, alleges that Montgomery and Peabody fled the scene “most likely because they were both drunk.”

The affidavit, however, makes no reference to whether the Fort Worth officer who questioned Montgomery almost an hour after the wreck suspected that he was intoxicated.

No alcohol-related tests were administered to Montgomery, Neal said.

According to the affidavit, the wreck totaled Panfil’s Lincoln MKZ, a loss of about $33,000.

Panfil suffered bruised right ribs and other pain. Passenger Stacy Adkins was treated for a broken right wrist, passenger Nicolas King was treated for a badly bruised hip and back pain, and passenger Ryszard Galas suffered pain and minor cuts from flying glass.

Panfil is seeking damages of at least $100,000.

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