MEDIA COURTHOUSE — An Upper Chichester police detective pleaded guilty Monday to a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence as a second-tier first offense and a summary charge of failing to stop and render aid in a January 2019 crash that injured a pedestrian.
John Peter Montgomery Jr., 49, of Aston, will have to pay a $500 fine and retire from the police department under the negotiated plea deal worked out by Deputy Attorney General Christopher Peter Phillips and defense counsel Mark Much.
Montgomery, a veteran Upper Chichester criminal investigator who has worked with the Delaware County District Attorney’s Criminal Investigation Unit on narcotics cases, had also been charged with aggravated assault while driving under the influence, a second-degree felony, and accidents involving death or personal injury, a third-degree felony. Those charges and other summary offenses will be dismissed as part of the plea, Phillips said.
Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Michael Santos was called to investigate a one-vehicle crash in the 2800 block of Larkin Road in Upper Chichester at 11:22 p.m. Jan. 9, 2019, according to a criminal complaint. Santos was told that the operator of the vehicle was an off-duty Upper Chichester officer who had struck a pedestrian. The scene of the crash is a residential area south of Route 322, not far from Montgomery’s home.
When Santos responded, he encountered Montgomery with an Upper Chichester officer at the intersection of Chichester Avenue and Chelsea Parkway, about 1-1/2 miles from the accident scene, according to the complaint. While speaking with Montgomery, Santos said he noticed that he had bloodshot and glassy eyes, as well as a strong odor of alcohol on his breath.
Montgomery allegedly told Santos that he had been driving his Ford 150 pickup truck on Larkin Road when he struck what he thought was a deer. He said that he turned around to check what had happened, but did not see anything. He drove away, but was stopped by an Upper Chichester patrol officer a short time later and detained.
Santos wrote in his complaint that Montgomery “admitted to having had a couple of beers at a friend’s house” earlier that evening, “but nothing since crashing.”
Montgomery allegedly showed signs of impairment while performing two field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test showed a positive result for the presence of alcohol.
Montgomery was then taken into custody and transported to the Media state police barracks, where he was given another breath test that showed a blood alcohol content of 0.143, nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08.
Santos noted in the complaint that the 43-year-old victim was taken to Crozer-Chester Medical Center and treated for serious injuries, including a broken right clavicle and a broken left fibula.
The victim said he had been walking on Larkin Road wearing reflective bands around his legs and a flashing red light on his back when he was struck from behind. The impact of the crash broke off the side-view mirror of Montgomery’s pickup truck.
Upper Chichester Solicitor Michael Pierce previously said Montgomery was in his own private vehicle and on his own time when the crash occurred. He was placed on “limited duty” following the crash but was still working a non-patrol shift with the department. The solicitor said Montgomery would be allowed to maintain that status until the final disposition of the criminal charges against him.
Phillips said Monday that Montgomery’s retirement is expected to take place ahead of sentencing, set for March 23 before Delaware County Common Pleas Court Judge Margaret J. Amoroso. Montgomery remains free on unsecured bail of $50,000.