Man in custody after fleeing scene of crash in which baby was ejected

By Courtney Gilmore - Anchor/Reporter , Syan Rhodes - Anchor/Reporter

CONROE, Texas - Deputies say they have arrested a man who fled the scene of a crash in which his baby son was ejected from the vehicle.

The crash occurred two weeks ago, but investigators say they needed time to prove the baby's father was behind the wheel. Now they say they know it was him.

"I've seen a lot of things," said Montgomery County District Attorney Warren Diepraam. "But a father leaving his newborn baby on the side of the road was surprising."

The accident happened shortly after 10 p.m. on July 20 on East Williams Road near South Williams Road. The Texas Department of Public Safety says the driver, identified as James William Hammons Jr., left the scene after his 5-month-old son flew nearly 15 feet from the car during the crash.

Paramedics rushed 5-month-old Noah Hammons to the hospital.

"I saw a guy running with a red hoodie on," said witness David Davis.

Department of Public Safety troopers say the man witnesses saw running away from the scene was the baby's father, James Hammons Jr.

"Witnesses also told police Hammons appeared to be drunk at the crash scene. Moments before the accident he got into a domestic dispute with the mother of his child at a nearby gas station. He has the baby in his arms, and put the baby in the back seat. He left the mother there and took off. Soon after he left the gas station he lost control and crashed," said Diepraam.

Investigators say Hammons crashed his SUV and the impact caused Noah to fly out the back window. He ended up in a ditch 15 feet away.

"Baby was scraped up, bleeding, docile, didn't move," said DPS Trooper Erik Burse. "No, not a random baby. It's Mr. Hammons' baby. Whether it's your baby or not, it's bad. But it's your child, and you leave him there?"

The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office filed charges against Hammons for child abandonment, DWI and failure to stop and render aid. His total bond has been set at $200,000.

Investigators said Noah's injuries were minor. He's fully recovered and has been in a foster home since the crash.

There is a hearing next week to see if he'll be allowed to go home to his mother or another family member.

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