Man Sentenced to 35 Years to Life in Prison for Killing Passenger in Westminster Police Chases, Assaulting 2 Officers
A man who led police on two high-speed chases in Westminster four years ago, killing the passenger in his vehicle after crashing into trees and poles on the side of the road, was sentenced to 35 years to life in state prison on Friday, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Along with being convicted of second-degree murder, Javier Homero Montoya was also found guilty of assaulting two police officers by a jury on April 25. The high-speed chases happened on Dec. 1, 2014 and started with a routine traffic stop.
About 7:15 p.m. that evening, Montoya, 44, left a parking lot for a 24 Hour Fitness gym in the Westminster Center in a Ford F-150 pickup truck when two officers tried to pull him over, according to prosecutors. He refused to stop and led officers on a high-speed pursuit, driving recklessly along the northbound 405 Freeway, prosecutors said.
With the police chasing him, Montoya slammed on the brakes and a Westminster Police Department patrol vehicle collided with the back of his truck, prosecutors said. Then, he hit the side of another police vehicle before fleeing.
Later that night, around 11:30 p.m., Montoya left an apartment complex with Alberto Marquez, his friend, in the passenger seat, according to prosecutors. He drove the truck near the Westminster Center again before police spotted him and tried pulling him over in another stop, prosecutors said.
That’s when he led police on a second chase, according to authorities.
Driving around 90 miles per hour, Montoya drove recklessly along the northbound 405 Freeway again as police chased him, prosecutors said. He had his headlights off at the time and at some point, he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into some trees and light poles on the side of the road near where the freeway meets the 710, according to prosecutors.
The truck caught fire in the crash, entrapping both Montoya and Marquez as first responders later had to remove them from the vehicle, according to prosecutors. Marquez was pronounced dead at the scene.
Meanwhile, Montoya was taken to Long Beach Memorial Hospital to treat his injuries and was later arrested.
No other details were released by the DA’s office.