THE WOODLANDS, Texas — A Montgomery County, Texas, jury has sentenced former truck driver Matthew Brian Davis to 13 years in prison for fleeing the scene of a Nov. 5, 2021, wreck that killed a 67-year-old man.
The sentencing was held on Thursday, Dec. 8.
According to a news release from Michael R. Holley, first assistant district attorney with the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, Davis was driving his 1999 Volvo 18-wheeler and pulling a heavy equipment trailer when he was involved in a crash on Highway 105.
As Davis turned left across Highway 105 to travel west towards Grimes County, he pulled out in front of a pickup truck that struck the side of his trailer.
Montgomery County resident Gary Lee Frank was ejected from the pickup, and Davis immediately fled and did not attempt to stop, render aid to Frank, or call 911, the news release stated.
A passerby called 911 and tried to help Frank, but he died at the scene.
At the time of the crash, the driver of the 18-wheeler was unidentified, and there was no suspect.
Trooper Brit Lopez of the Texas Department of Public Safety responded to the scene and investigated the crash, and he and other troopers canvassed the area and located several gas station surveillance videos which captured the crash and the fleeing 18-wheeler.
After law enforcement issued a media release to the public asking for assistance, several tips identified Davis of Grimes County, Texas, as a person of interest.
Lopez went to Davis’ home, located the truck and trailer and interviewed him, according to the news release.
“Despite obvious damage to the trailer, which Davis had attempted to spray paint over and hide behind a wooden board, Davis repeatedly denied involvement in the crash,” the news release stated. “Trooper Lopez also found Davis had removed lights and decals from the truck, which were visible in the surveillance videos in an attempt to avoid being identified. An arrest warrant was issued for Davis, charging him for the fatal hit and run, a 2nd-degree felony, which carried up to 20 years in prison. Mr. Davis was also probation eligible.”
At trial, Davis decided to plead guilty to the jury and ask for probation.
“However, the jury heard evidence that Davis has a long history of being ticketed for driving without a license or insurance, that he had been repeatedly pulled over for illegally driving commercial vehicles, and that he had a history of domestic violence and failing to pay child support,” according to the news release.
Assistant District Attorneys Taylor Vanegas and Michael Ghutzman presented the case to the jury. They argued that Davis’ actions in this case and throughout his life deserved a prison sentence.
“Gary Frank didn’t deserve to die in a ditch on the side of the road,” Vanegas said. “If Matt Davis hadn’t been illegally driving that big rig, Mr. Frank would still be alive. Davis has consistently refused to take care of his responsibilities, but this jury ensured that at long last he was held responsible.”
Ghutzman praised the investigation team for their work linking Davis to the crime.
“There would have been no arrest, jury trial, or closure for the Frank family had it not been for the exceptional investigative work of Trooper Brit Lopez. Davis left the scene, attempted to cover up the damage and lied about being involved in the crash,” Ghutzman said. “These cowardly acts failed to deter Trooper Lopez, who eventually brought him to justice. We want to thank Trooper Lopez and the Department of Public Safety for all their effort in this investigation.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.