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California man arrested for Rio crash that killed CHP officer

Reported by: Sergio Avila
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Updated: 8/19/2013 9:54 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV – A 29-year-old man from California has been arrested in relation to Sunday’s carjacking that ended with the death of a California Highway Patrol officer.

James Montgomery is facing one count each of murder, grand larceny and battery and two counts each of kidnapping and robbery.

Jesus Manuel Magdaleno Jr., 33, of Visalia, Calif., was killed when he was ejected from a pickup truck that crashed in front of the Rio Hotel & Casino.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Magdaleno was an eight-year veteran with the force, the past three in the Visalia area. He was in Las Vegas for his bachelor party and was to be wed in September.

Metro investigators said Magdaleno and Felix Brandon Cruz, 31, were loading their pickup at the Flamingo Hotel valet when Montgomery jumped into the driver's seat and took off. Magdaleno and Cruz then jumped into the bed as the vehicle fled westbound on Flamingo.

The pickup ran three red lights on Flamingo and was sideswiped by a Ford Escape at Valley View and Flamingo as it went through a fourth red light. Magdaleno and Cruz were ejected.

Magdaleno died at the scene, and Cruz was taken to UMC in critical condition.

Montgomery was also transported to UMC for his injuries. He told Metro homicide detectives that he had no recollection of what occurred expect that he remembered being in a car crash. Montgomery also said he remembered walking around the Flamingo; however, he did not know why he was there.

Montgomery was booked in absentia. He is scheduled for a 48-hour hearing Tuesday morning at the Regional Justice Center.


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