After jury selection the trial of Garrett Nee of Kingwood started just after 2 pm in Montgomery County District Court 9 with Judge Grant presiding. Several witnesses were called in this afternoon including the manager of the Corner Store at SH 242 and I-69 in Patton Village. Also, Officer Pitts who in 2016 was an officer with Wood branch Police. He is now on the Lone Star College Police Force. On June 19, 2016 about 7 p.m. a regular customer was on the picnic tables on the east side of the Corner Store which is now owned by Circle K. While he was there he witnessed a vehicle pull up in the side parking lot, back in a parking spot along the freeway feeder. He then exited the vehicle and began to urinate reportedly exposing himself. The customer went into the building and reported the incident to the manager who called the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line. As she was talking to dispatchers Nee got back into his vehicle and pulled to the front of the store. That is when Patton Village Sgt. Baumgartner arrived after getting the call from dispatch. Baumgartner parked behind Nee with his overhead lights on and approached the Nee who was in the driver’s seat. After getting his license and insurance, he returned to the front of his patrol car to speak with a witness. At the same time Officer Pitts who was on a traffic stop pulled into the Corner Store to back -up Baumgartner. As he did he realized he had a flat tire on the Woodbranch patrol car. He spoke briefly with Baumgartner who then returned to his patrol car. As Baumgartner was sitting in his vehicle running
Nee’s driver’s license put the vehicle in reverse almost striking Baumgartner’s patrol unit. He then fled west on SH 242. Baumgartner called dispatch and advised them of the pursuit and also that his dash cam had just failed. The pursuit continued west on SH 242 at speeds of up to 100 mph. Several times Nee traveled head on with vehicles as he passed vehicles. When they reached the intersection of FM 1485 and SH 242 dispatchers lost communications with Baumgartner and GPS tracking. Seconds later calls began to come in regarding a two vehicle crash with rollover. A police vehicle and a Suburban were reported in the crash. Units arrived shortly after and confirmed Baumgartner was involved in a crash and was entrapped. According to court records, Nee who was involved in the pursuit got to the intersection just as the light changed to red. Baumgartner was said to be 3-car lengths behind when he entered the intersection with lights and siren. A family who had just finished a Father’s Day dinner was traveling north on FM 1485. The Suburban they were in slammed into the driver’s door of Baumgartner’s patrol car. Both vehicles flipped. Baumgartner who had jumped into his patrol car to stop Nee was not wearing a seatbelt. The Suburban had been modified with different seats. None of which had seatbelts. The seats were ripped from their mounts in the crash ejecting most of the 7 occupants. The occupants included 3 boys and 2 girls. One of the children who was 11-years-old did not make it. Records also show Nee continued on but saw the wreck in his mirror. A short time later he raced back to the scene passing EMs and even DPS Troopers. When he arrived on the scene he was recognized and arrested. He was put in the back of a Roman Forest patrol car. While in there he attempted to kick the back windows out. Baumgartner died at the hospital. On Father’s Day he left behind a wife, 6-year-old daughter and a 21-year-old son. Nee, who has been in the Montgomery County Jail since June 19, 2016 stands charged with two counts of evading arrest detention causing death and 2 counts of evading arrest and detention causing serious bodily injury. He is also charged with DWI with a blood alcohol over .15.
The trial is expected to last at least one week and will continue Tuesday morning.
TODAY’S TRIAL INCLUDING AUDIO OF THE PURSUIT THAT TOOK SGT. BAUMGARTNER’S LIFE
SCENE VIDEO FROM 6/19/16