Only after a second encounter with officers was a 51-year-old man arrested for stealing a vehicle from Arkansas. A communications operator’s mistake in running the truck’s license plate incorrectly and slow response in response to queries about a checkbook in the man’s possession Friday resulted in sheriff’s officers not learning the vehicle had been stolen from Hot Springs, Arkansas until Sunday morning, according to arrest reports.
Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Elijah Fite was dispatched at 10:28 a.m. Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, to mile marker 115 on I-30 west in Brashear, where an older gentleman was reported to be slumped over the wheel of a red Chevrolet pickup. Fite reported finding a red S10 truck and called the license plate number to dispatchers for a records check.
The man with the truck, appeared to the deputy to be disoriented, supported by his claim to be on his way to Texarkana from Malvern, Arkansas. The man, identified in arrest reports as Roy Russell Montgomery, claimed he’d run out of gas and didn’t have any way of getting more gas.
Montgomery reportedly agreed to let the deputy search his clothing and the truck. Fite reported finding a check book and miscellaneous checks issued to Little Rock, Arkansas business. The deputy contacted the bank the checks were issued for. Bank personnel then indicated they’d contact the account holder and have them get in touch with the HCSO to confirm whether or not Montgomery was in fact allowed to possess the checkbook. After providing the accountholder with what he considered adequate time to contact him, a citizen arrived and provided a gallon of fuel for the man to put into the truck, so the deputy released him after seizing the checkbook and checks that did not have his name on them, Fite alleged in arrest reports.
Sunday, Sept. 25, night shift deputies reported contacting the a man fitting Montgomery’s description on South Hillcrest Drive in the area of the truck stops, but said they hadn’t seen the red pickup in the area where they contacted him. Reviewing bodycam and dashcam footage from Friday, deputies discovered the dispatcher had incorrectly entered the vehicle license plate. Running the correct number, it was learned the truck had been reported stolen in Hot Springs, Arkansas on Friday, Sept. 23, at 3:34 a.m.
Deputies returned to the area of the truck stops, and were able to quickly locate Montgomery at Love’s Truck Stop. While searching the truck stops, they also located the red truck parked in the back parking area at 7 Star Truck Stop. Montgomery was transported to the truck. He reportedly admitted to operating the truck, parking it behind the West Shannon Road trust stop and being the only person in possession of the vehicle since Fite checked on him Friday.
After the pickup was confirmed to have been reported stolen Sept. 23, in Hot Springs, by the Arkansas authorities, Montgomery was taken into custody at 6:25 a.m. Sept. 25, 2022, and the vehicle was towed from the location for safe holding. The 51-year-old was booked into Hopkins County jail at 7:30 a.m. Sunday for unauthorized use of a vehicle. He remained in the county jail Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, on the felony charge; bond was set at $5,000, according to jail reports.
The Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office is located at 298 Rosemont St., Sulphur Springs, TX 75482. Non-emergency calls can be made to (903) 438-4040.