Montgomery County sheriff's deputy killed in crash during inmate transfer in Centerville, Texas

Courtney Fischer Image
Thursday, February 22, 2024
Montgomery Co. sheriff's deputy killed in crash during inmate transfer
A second deputy and the inmate who was being transported were seriously injured. Officials said the prison transport van was the only vehicle involved in the crash.

CENTERVILLE, Texas (KTRK) -- A Montgomery County sheriff's deputy died in a crash while transporting an inmate on Wednesday night, according to the sheriff's office.

The crash happened just before 10:30 p.m. in Centerville, Texas, which is about two hours and 100 miles north of Houston.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, an MCSO patrol vehicle conducting an inmate transport was traveling southbound on I-45 in Leon County when it hit an 18-wheeler also traveling southbound. Officials believe the patrol vehicle may have sideswiped the 18-wheeler.

During the crash, 38-year-old Deputy Charles Rivette, the front seat passenger, was ejected from the patrol vehicle and landed in the northbound lanes, DPS said. That's when a pickup truck in the northbound lanes hit him, and two other 18-wheelers hit the patrol vehicle.

The driver of the patrol vehicle, identified as 37-year-old Deputy James Francis, and the inmate who was sitting in the back seat were taken by Life Flight to area hospitals with serious injuries. Deputy Rivette was pronounced dead at the scene, DPS said.

One of the 18-wheeler drivers who struck the patrol vehicle was taken to an area hospital with minor injuries. DPS said the other drivers involved were uninjured.

An ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Texas Highway Patrol with the assistance of the District Crash Reconstruction Team.

"Sheriff Henderson expresses his profound sorrow and extends condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Deputy Rivette. The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office is lifting up Deputy Rivette, Deputy Francis, and the injured inmate in our prayers," MCSO said in a statement.

MCSO said Deputy Rivette had been with the sheriff's office for about 18 years.

It's unclear if speed played a factor in the crash, but officials noted that the speed limit on that stretch of I-45 is 75 mph.

Drivers are urged to avoid the area as crews continue their investigation.

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