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Sentencing in deadly hit and run

December 21, 2022 - 00:00
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A Navasota man, Matthew Brian Davis, age 37, who fled the scene of a deadly accident was sentenced to over a decade in prison by a Montgomery County Jury Thursday, Dec. 8.


Davis, who was an unlicensed and uninsured driver, pled guilty to Accident involving Personal Injury or Death. His request for probation was denied after the jury heard evidence of Davis having a long history of being ticketed for illegally driving commercial vehicles, failing to pay child support. 


Montgomery County Assistant District Attorneys, Taylor Vanegas and Michael Ghutzman presented the case and stated Davis’ actions in the case and throughout his life deserved a prison sentence. The jury agreed and sentenced Davis to 13 years in prison. 


Just after 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, Davis, who is a logger, reportedly pulled away from a stop sign on Mt. Moriah Road and turned west on Texas State Highway 105. He failed to yield the right-of-way to a pickup truck driven by Gary Frank of Montgomery, who was traveling eastbound on SH 105.


Frank slammed into the rear of Davis’s 18-wheeler almost slicing completely through the truck. Davis did not stop after the accident and continued west on SH 105. Frank was pronounced deceased on scene.


Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers began investigating and searched for video footage along SH 105. They obtained black and white video footage from a camera near the scene which showed a light-colored tractor-trailer pulling a lowboy. Footage showed the trailer being struck on the left rear of the trailer.


Additional video footage from a camera several miles from the crash scene in Stoneham, observed the white tractor-trailer pass and almost immediately apply its brakes. As he did, the Trooper saw in the video there were no lights on the left side of the trailer. The truck turned south onto Farm-to-Market Road 234.


DPS issued a press release several days later with images of the truck. Grimes County Sheriff Deputy Zackry Pavlock was able to identify the truck as one he has seen in his patrol area. A Crime Stoppers tip was also reported.


Troopers located the vehicle on 4977 Tall Pine Road in Navasota. The truck appeared to be a white Volvo with wind flares and a single exhaust, as seen in the video, however the decals were missing. An investigation of the vehicle reveled a clean area where the decals had been.


Red lights shown on the top rear area of the cab as seen in the video were also no longer on the truck, but there was a clean area where they had been. Those lights are used when hauling wide loads. When questioned, Davis told Troopers he was the only one who drives the truck and stated he drove it for a logging operation on the day of the crash but had no knowledge of the crash.


A lowboy trailer was located near the truck and the trooper smelled fresh paint and spotted fresh white paint on the left side of the trailer. A piece of wood was leaning against the tires and when moved the Trooper saw the front left axle tire was shredded and severe damage was done to the wheel with a large amount of dirt packed in it. There was extensive damage under the trailer including a missing triangular anchor in which the weld marks matched the one found at the scene. Davis continued denying allegations that he was involved in a crash but refused to explain why part of the trailer was painted white and the rest of the trailer was painted black.


Davis was arrested and transferred to the Montgomery County Jail. 


“Gary Frank didn’t deserve to die in a ditch on the side of the road,” said Assistant District Attorney Taylor Vanegas who prosecuted the case. “Davis has consistently refused to take care of his responsibilities, but this jury ensured that at long last he was held responsible.”


 “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,” stated Assistant District Attorney Michael Ghutzman. “Davis left the scene, attempted to cover up the damage, and lied about being involved in the crash. 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.”