A police officer engaged in a high speed pursuit of a suspected drunk driver was killed when his cruiser was struck by a vehicle not involved in the chase. A young passenger in the second vehicle was also killed in the crash.
Patton Village Police Sergeant Stacey Baumgartner was chasing a dark colored Scion shortly before 8 p.m. on Sunday night. During the pursuit, the Scion passed through a highway intersection on State Highway 242. Sgt. Baumgartner followed him through the intersection but his vehicle was struck by a Chevrolet Suburban traveling on the other roadway, according to Montgomery County Police Reporter’s Scott Engle.
“The patrol unit took severe damage and came to rest at the end of the edge of the intersection and struck a pole,” Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Richard Standifer told Engle. “The Suburban rolled over, came to rest on the 1485 side upside down, just off the improved shoulder.”
The chase began after Baumgartner responded to a call at a convenience store in reference to a man exposing himself and urinating in public. As the Patton Village police sergeant approached the man, later identified as Garrett William Nee, 29, Nee allegedly attempted to run over Baumgartner. He then fled the scene and Baumgartner took off in pursuit, Engle reported.
Following the crash of the patrol car and the Suburban, Nee apparently saw what had happened and returned to the scene. He was taken into custody by an officer from Roman Forest village. He later attempted to escape from the patrol car by kicking out a window, Engle wrote.
An 11-year-old child was killed in the crash. Several other people in the Suburban were injured and transported to a local hospital, ABC13 reported. The child’s name and that of her injured family members have not yet been released.
Nee was booked into the Montgomery County jail and has been charged with one count of murder, two counts of intoxication manslaughter with a motor vehicle, and six counts of intoxicated assault with a motor vehicle resulting in serious bodily injury.
Sergeant Baumgartner is reported to have been a husband and a father. He was killed on Father’s Day.
A GoFundMe page has been established to help his family with their expenses.
Sgt. Stacey Baumgartner is the 47th police officer to die this year in the line of duty. He is the second to be killed in a vehicle pursuit, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.