Internal investigation: Deputy did not stop immediately after hitting teen on Tampa roadway

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Three months after a 15-year-old boy was hit an killed by a deputy in Tampa, investigators released their internal affairs report, revealing what lead up to the crash - and what they believe happened in the moments after.

At the time, witnesses told family members that the deputy “kept going” after hitting 15-year-old Josiah Pinner. According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Deputy Montesi’s accident was not considered a hit-and-run, and he “traveled past the incident and turned around.”

However, GPS and speed data obtained by FOX 13 shows the deputy continued driving nearly 30 seconds after he hit Pinner.

According to the report, 24 seconds after crashing into the teen, Montesi was still traveling at 53 miles per hour in the opposite direction of the scene.

For more than two minutes, Montesi was not at the scene and did not call for help, according to radio logs released as part of a Freedom of Information Act public records request. 

“Hey sarge, you need to come down to Florida and 109,” Montesi said over the radio, later adding “we need EMS 10-18 [emergency].”

A second deputy, who witnessed the impact, said he thought it was an explosion and radioed for help more than a minute before Montesi.

Montesi was never asked about what he did in the minutes following the accident, according to transcripts of an interview he did with Internal Affairs.

The issue of Montesi leaving the scene was not brought up by investigators in any of the eight interviews released to FOX 13. 

A sergeant did recall witness confusion in the aftermath, possibly caused by Montesi not stopping sooner.  

“The eyewitnesses were yelling it was a red or dark car that hit the pedestrian,” an unidentified sergeant said in a recorded interview. “We were fairly certain they were mistaken and that it was obviously the gray car [Montesi] was driving. But I didn’t argue or try to correct them. At the time I was like, 'Was there another vehicle?' We didn’t go out of our way to try to correct their inaccuracy because I didn’t know.”

The sheriff's office said Montesi was part of an undercover drug operation tasked with following a bank employee, according to the report. The sheriff’s office had received information that someone might be delivering up to a pound of marijuana or cocaine at some point during the day. Montesi was one of several cars tasked with following the target after she left work. 

Montesi got stuck in traffic at some point during the operation and investigators say he admitted he was exceeding the speed limit in an effort to relocate the suspect. He told investigators he thought it was a speed he could control. 

The sheriff’s office suspended Montesi for five days following the investigation for not following standard operating procedures. 

“He was not responding to an emergency situation, justifying the speed he was traveling at the time of the crash,” the sheriff’s office wrote in disciplinary hearing files.

Several deputies interviewed in the report told investigators that it's not uncommon for a deputy to go beyond the speed limit at times during a surveillance operation. GPS data from Montesi's car showed he was traveling between 60 and 67 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone.

The report found that when Montessi struck the teen, he was traveling 20 miles over the speed limit. 

Requests from FOX 13 News to the sheriff's office, requesting further comment on the investigation, have not been answered.

Pinner's mother has been a vocal advocate for her son since the night he died. After seeing the report from internal investigations, she reiterated her anger. 

"I don't want to ruin [Montesi's] life. It was an accident. I'm just more angry that he didn't do what anyone else would have done. Stop. Not leave. Check on him. Like, he shouldn't be driving," Joanne Rojas said.

The voluminous internal affairs report shows this isn’t the first time Montesi hit a pedestrian while speeding.

In 2017, Montesi clipped a pedestrian with his side mirror. He was going 41 mph in a 25 mph zone and told investigators he was distracted by an in-car computer. The pedestrian was later cited for failing to use a sidewalk. Montesi received a written warning. 

The family's attorney said, after seeing the report from internal affairs, he still has questions about the deputy's actions.

"There's really no need to speed because it wasn't a hot pursuit," attorney Edward Reyes said. "If he did this in the past it's very indicative that he will do this in the future."

Montesi told investigators he thinks about the incident every day.

“My heart breaks for that family, and the fact that they lost their son. I can’t imagine what it’s…what they are going through. If I was able to, you know, make it all undone, I would do it in a heartbeat." Montessi told investigators, adding, "I play the incident several times a week... What if I had swerved left into the opposite lanes of traffic and I would’ve avoided both of them? And so... obviously you can’t do that. You can’t go back in time and change."