MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas - A driver is facing charges after a Patton Village police officer and an 11-year-old boy were killed during a police chase Sunday night on Highway 242.
Garrett Nee, 29, is charged with murder and manslaughter. According to the Department of Public Safety, Nee was in a dark gray Scion at a Valero gas station when officers starting pursuing him.
According to DPS, Patton Village Police Sgt. Stacey Baumgartner was killed during the chase after his patrol car was hit by a white 1998 Chevy Suburban at the intersection of Highway 242 and FM 1485 around 8 p.m. Sunday.
"He was a family guy. He loved his family. He loved his job," Sgt. Baumgartner's niece, Samantha Rodriguez, said.
The mayor of Patton Village described him an an amazing officer.
“He had a compassion and a love for God, for his family and for fellow law enforcement,” Leah Tarrant, Patton Village Mayor, said. “He always had a smile.”
She said he loved his adult son, his wife and his young daughter.
"I always thought, if daddies could see Stacey Baumgartner with Cloe, they would be a great dad. She was his world.” Tarrant said.
Tarrant and officers from the Patton Village Police Department placed a wreath near a patrol car on the main road into town Monday afternoon. A citizen placed American flags in a half circle around the patrol car.
Larry Kidi, who met Baumgartner after he started as a police officer in 2012, said he will be missed.
“The guy was a sweetheart. He actually cared about the community,” Kidi said. “It’s just devastating. A good guy gone. All the good ones are going.”
The impact of the crash sent Baumgartner's cruiser into a pole at the intersection, trooper Richard Standifer said. Baumgartner was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital in The Woodlands where he later died.
According to DPS, the white Suburban that hit the cruiser flipped and landed upside down near the intersection.
An 11-year-old boy, identified as Adan Hilario Jr., inside the Suburban was killed in the crash after being ejected from the vehicle.
“The suburban struck the patrol unit, The patrol unit took severe damage and came to rest at the end of the edge of the intersection and struck a pole,” Standifer said.
According to DPS, six other people in the Suburban were also injured and taken to Conroe Regional and Memorial Hermann hospitals.
Nee turned around and returned to the scene after seeing the crash in his rearview mirror, DPS said.
Investigators said Nee was arrested and placed into a second patrol car, where he fought authorities and tried to kick-out the back window of the police vehicle.
Thirty patrol cars from different law enforcement agencies escorted Baumgartner's body from the hospital to the Montgomery County Forensic Services in Conroe.
"It's so bad. He left a 4-year-old daughter, a 20-year-old son and his wife," the officer's brother-in-law, David Addicks, said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Sgt. Baumgartner to help the family with expenses.
Nee is a U.S. Marine and father of two young children. His neighbors said the incident sounds like the man they know.
"From what we have always seen, (Nee has) a very nice family, (they're) very wholesome," neighbor Jason Sands said. "They go to the park. They go for walks (and) plays with his kids. We've never seen anything out of the ordinary. Ever."
Donations are being accepted to The 100 Club Survivors Fund that provides benefits to the dependents of Firefighters and Law Enforcement Officers who lose their life in the line of duty.
Contributions are being accepted at The 100 Club website www.the100club.org and at:
100 Club Survivors Fund
5555 San Felipe Street Suite 1750
Houston TX 77056-5527
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