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Man Still Hospitalized But Due In Court After Fatal CHP Officer Crash

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File photo of a hospital hallway. (Photo by PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a hospital hallway. (Photo by PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — A man was due Wednesday for an initial appearance in a Las Vegas court on felony charges alleging he stole and crashed a pickup, killing an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer and his brother-in-law.

But it wasn’t clear if 29-year-old James Robert Montgomery of Tustin, Calif., would make his court date on murder, kidnapping and other charges.

Police said Tuesday he remained hospitalized following the Sunday morning crash.

Authorities say veteran CHP Officer Jesus Manuel Magdaleno Jr. and Felix Brandon Cruz III were fatally injured when Montgomery crashed Magdaleno’s pickup truck during a wild getaway attempt from the Flamingo hotel valet on the Las Vegas Strip.

No services were immediately scheduled for the two men, according to an official at the funeral home handling arrangements.

Magdaleno and Cruz were in Las Vegas for Magdaleno’s bachelor party, and police say they were loading Magdaleno’s pickup with luggage at checkout time when Montgomery got into the driver’s seat of the vehicle and drove away from the valet area at the Flamingo hotel-casino.

Magdaleno ran after the pickup, shouting that he was a CHP officer and jumping into the cargo bed with Cruz, according to security video and witness accounts. The video hasn’t been made public.

The pickup sped away from the Strip, mowing down construction cones and speeding through red lights on an Interstate 15 overpass before colliding with an SUV and smashing into a traffic signal pole in front of the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino, about a mile west of the Flamingo.

Magdaleno was an eight-year CHP patrol and training officer assigned to Visalia. He was to be married in September.

Montgomery told police he remembered walking around the Flamingo and being in a car crash, but couldn’t remember anything in between, according to his arrest report.

He was seen speaking with a taxi driver before climbing into the driver’s seat of Magdaleno’s pickup, police said.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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