LIMA — The police officer involved in a chase that killed a man appeared to act appropriately, a Lima police official said Monday, though an investigation still needs to take place.
Officer Aaron Montgomery is a six-year veteran of the department. He was almost two city blocks behind the van when the fatal crash occurred, said Lima Police Department Maj. Chip Protsman. The entire incident took just 13 seconds.
“We will certainly evaluate what was going on. All indications are, right now, that our officer did everything appropriate,” Protsman said.
Montgomery was attempting to stop the van at 12:48 a.m. Friday for suspected drug activity when the 17-year-old driver took off at a high rate of speed. The teenager drove through a red light at the corner of East Kibby Street and McPheron Avenue, striking a car. A passenger in that car, Devontae Williams, died later at St. Rita’s Medical Center.
The driver of the minivan remained in the hospital Monday. Protsman would not identify the teen because he has not been charged. Protsman expects the teen to be charged after he is released from the hospital sometime in the near future.
Police officials have spoken to prosecutors about possible charges, but nothing has been formalized. A police incident report was titled “negligent manslaughter.”
Protsman did not have information on the rate of speed the minivan was traveling, the determination of which is part of the investigation.
Officials would not release cruiser camera video of the chase, saying it fell under an exception to the state’s open records law concerning active investigations.
Five people were in the van at the time of the crash, including one adult. The owner of the minivan is Renae Young, who was not in the vehicle. Protsman said he did not know if Young were related to the 17-year-old driver.
Police found illegal drugs at the scene of the crash, Protsman said. He would not discuss the type of drugs or say whether the drugs were inside the minivan. A police incident report listed 3.6 grams of marijuana recovered as evidence.
The driver of the car that carried Williams, Davion Upshaw, 19, of Lima, was not seriously injured, Protsman said.
Williams is the same man who was shot in the stomach earlier this year outside a bar when 19-year-old Marcus Simpson Jr. was killed. An autopsy on Williams will take place, Protsman said.