SAN MARCOS, Texas — A San Marcos police sergeant involved in a fatal car crash in the summer of 2020 has been terminated.
The decision was relayed to the San Marcos City Council in the following letter from City Manager Bert Lumbreras on Tuesday afternoon.
Good afternoon Mayor and Council,
The purpose of this correspondence is to make you aware of the indefinite suspension of San Marcos Police Sergeant Ryan Hartman. In the civil service environment, an indefinite suspension is equivalent to a termination. Mr. Hartman does have the right to appeal this decision to either the Civil Service Commission or request his appeal be heard by a third party arbitrator. Chief Standridge indefinitely suspended Mr. Hartman effective this evening, January 18, 2022.
Although we do not routinely notify Council of employee terminations, we thought it best to notify you all of this one because of the amount of media attention that has surrounded this particular employee. Sergeant Hartman’s indefinite suspension came as the result of sustained misconduct related to dereliction of duty and insubordination.
According to KVUE's news partners at the Austin American-Statesman, on June 10, 2020, Sgt. Hartman was speeding and failed to stop at the intersection of Texas 130 and Maple Street in Lockhart when he struck a Honda Accord, killing a woman named Jennifer Miller. Miller and her partner, Pamela Watts, were driving from San Marcos to Watts' home in Kingsbury.
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Reports state that police found an open container of beer inside Hartman's vehicle. He was ultimately not charged with criminally negligent homicide because a Caldwell County grand jury did not believe there was enough evidence to move forward with a criminal prosecution.
The Statesman also reported that Bastrop County District Attorney Bryan Goertz handled the case because Caldwell County District Attorney Fred Weber knew Hartman from a previous job, so he decided to recuse himself. Goertz reported that he then reviewed the case, and presented that along with the law to the Caldwell County grand jury.
Hartman was ticketed for running a stop sign, placed on paid administrative leave and was allowed back at work as a sergeant for the San Marcos Police Department.
Today, Watts is still pushing to get the case sent back to a grand jury. She submitted a petition in September, insisting that District Judge Chris Schneider respond.
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