The driver of a dually pickup involved in a hit and run that resulted in the death of 38-year-old David Wayne Jarma pleaded guilty earlier this week in the 266th Judicial District Court.
Vernon Ray Montgomery was sentenced to two years in prison and fined $1,000 after pleading guilty to failing to stop and render aid. If the case had gone to trial, Montgomery would have faced one to five years in prison.
“This case involved complex forensic evidence and witness testimony and other potential evidentiary matters,” said Nick Pugh, Montgomery's court-appointed attorney. “We are satisfied with the plea agreement reached with the state.”
Montgomery is the second defendant to plead guilty in connection with the case. In May, Brandi Elaine Wolff, a convicted felon, was sentenced to eight years in prison and issued a $1,000 fine. Wolff was a passenger in the pickup when the accident occurred in the early morning hours of Feb. 17.
Police responded to the scene after motorists reported seeing Jarma lying on the street in the 500 block of East Washington. An investigation into the accident revealed that earlier in the evening Jarma and Wolff had some type of dispute at The Junction, according to Det. Sgt. Russell Ford.
Ford said Wolff then called Montgomery to come pick her up from the gas station. When he arrived, Wolff got into his 1990 GMC dually pickup and left - but not before Jarma latched on and clung to the side of the truck.
Ford said the pickup traveled a good distance - with Jarma still hanging on - before he fell off near the downtown square and was run over.
Ford said Montgomery and Wolff told him they felt a “bump” when the wheels of the dually ran over him, but they did not stop. In April, Jarma, who never regained consciousness, died.
SARA VANDEN BERGE is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at 254-968-2379, ext. 240.