LAS VEGAS – A brother-in-law has died of injuries he received when he and an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer tried to stop a man from stealing the officer's pickup truck from a Las Vegas Strip hotel-casino valet stand, authorities said Tuesday.
Felix Brandon Cruz III, 31, of Visalia, was pronounced dead Monday evening at University Medical Center in Las Vegas, hospital and coroner's officials said.
Cruz's 33-year-old brother-in-law, veteran CHP Officer Jesus Manuel Magdaleno Jr., was killed at the scene of the 11 a.m. Sunday crash.
James Robert Montgomery, 29, of Tustin, Calif., was hospitalized, arrested and booked into the Clark County jail on felony murder, kidnapping, auto theft, battery and robbery charges pending an initial court appearance. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.
Magdaleno and Cruz were in Las Vegas for Magdaleno's bachelor party. Police say they were loading Magdaleno's pickup with luggage at checkout time when Montgomery got into the driver's seat of the Ford F-150 pickup and drove away from the valet area at the Flamingo hotel-casino.
Magdaleno ran after the pickup, shouted that he was a CHP officer and jumped into the cargo bed with his sister's husband, Cruz, while the driver sped wildly away from the Strip, mowing down construction cones and speeding through red lights on an Interstate 15 overpass, according to security video and witness accounts.
Magdaleno and Cruz were thrown out of the bed of the pickup when it collided with an SUV and smashed into a traffic signal pole in front of the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino, about a mile west of the Flamingo.
Two children in the SUV were treated for minor injuries, police said.
Magdaleno was an eight-year CHP patrol and training officer assigned to Visalia. He had been due 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.
Las Vegas police have posted a YouTube video of a procession of vehicles headed by a phalanx of motorcycle officers carrying Magdaleno's body to the Clark County coroner's office during a weekend thunderstorm.
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