As Miguel Montanez drove home from work at a metal shop in Buda, in the early morning hours, he noticed lights approaching toward him. He thought it was a school bus or perhaps a tow truck.
He never would have guessed it was a Hays County SWAT truck, which rammed his car head-on. Just after the collision, another police vehicle pinned him from behind, he stated.
He then heard a gunshot.
“I saw my windshield crack, and I ducked down as low as possible,” Montanez said. “I really thought I was going to die.”
Just a few seconds later, he claims that three deputies pointed assault rifles at him. “That’s when I heard one of the officers say, ‘Oh, (expletive), we got the wrong guy,’” Montanez said.
39-year-old Montanez filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on May 6th against Hays County, the city of San Marcos and nine law enforcement agents for injuries he says he sustained the morning of July 13th.
Despite the fact that the officers realized that he was not the suspect, he states, they kept him handcuffed for 30 minutes while questioning him and running a warrant check which came up empty. They finally let him go.
Montanez said that one of the officers told him they were looking for one of his brothers who resided at another address.
Sheriff’s officials in Hays County and San Marcos police declined to comment regarding details.
It was alleged that the SWAT team was in the area to find a suspect who had warrants out for his arrest. This report was obtained from the Hays County sheriff’s office. Also according to the report, the suspect drove a blue 1993 BMW. Montanez was driving a green 1992 BMW 318. When officers observed a dark colored BMW turning the curve, they stopped the car, the report states.
The front end of Montanez’s green BMW was destroyed from the impact with the SWAT truck. The windshield was left with two spider-webbed cracks, which look like bullet holes and burn marks that Montanez believes were from flash-bang grenades. The passenger window was broken out during the stop, he said.
The county’s insurance company paid about $3,700 for the damage to the car, which was totaled, but never offered an apology or to pay his medical expenses. Montanez said he suffered a herniated disc in his back and other injuries during the stop, in addition to psychological trauma. He just wants an explanation as to what happened and why.
“I’m just glad my son wasn’t in the car with me,” said Montanez, who had been scheduled to drive his then 16-year-old son to his mother’s house that morning but had instead dropped him off the night before.
It is very fortunate that no one was seriously injured or killed during this ‘mistake.’ What do you think would be a fair settlement in this case?
For more information, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).