Pedestrian killed in Oxford by driver who admitted to texting - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Updated: Driver arrested in fatal texting while driving crash in Oxford

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Rodrick Jamar Montgomery Rodrick Jamar Montgomery
OXFORD, Ala. -

An Anniston man faces charges for texting while driving as well as manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident.

Oxford police arrested Rodrick Jamar Montgomery on Wednesday morning.

Chief Bill Partridge said 47-year-old Ricky Lee Suddeth died Sunday when he was hit by a car on Barry Street.  Investigators said Montgomery told he was texting at the time.

"It only takes a second to take somebody's life," Partridge said.

"Don't text and drive.  Put it down in the car and drive.  That's what you're supposed to be doing."

Partridge said Montgomery was going about 35 miles per hour when he hit Suddeth.  He told traffic crash investigators he drove away without checking on the pedestrian.

"He said he was scared.  He said he realized he was texting while driving, dropped his phone [in the car], and took off," Chief Partridge said.

Duane Couch lives near Barry Street, and found Suddeth's body while walking his dog, Buster.

"My dog had picked up a scent.  When we got to a certain spot, my dog stopped and I noticed what looked like a body was there," Couch said.

"To me it looked like a dummy at first.  He was sniffing at it and I had to take a double look and [realized] that was a body... Sunday night I didn't sleep at all because I didn't know what was what.  I didn't know.  It's very mind blowing," he said.

Police found debris from the vehicle's front right headlight and determined it was a tan 2004 Ford Explorer.  Investigators issued a be on the lookout warning, and a patrol officer found the SUV about three hours later behind Somerset Place apartments in Oxford.

Investigators brought Montgomery to the station for questioning.  He admitted to texting.  Officers said they hope this serves as a wake up call to drivers to put their phones down while in the car.

"A person should not be texting and driving.  It's not right," Duane Couch said.

"You should pay more attention to what you're doing.  This right here is an example of what can happen.  An innocent man got killed because of texting and driving."

Chief Partridge said Montgomery is a student from Anniston who was out of town Tuesday.  Police made an arrangement with Montgomery and he will turned himself in Wednesday morning.

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