93° San Marcos
The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

SMPD officer terminated months after killing woman in car collision

Pamela+Watts+holds+a+24oz+can+of+Dos+Equis+beer+in+front+of+a+memorial+sign+for+Jennifer+Miller+while+talking+to+KXAN+reporter+Jala+Washington%2C+Thursday%2C+June+10%2C+2021%2C+at+San+Marcos+City+Hall.+An+identical+can+was+found+on+the+night+of+the+collision+in+the+car+of+Sgt.+Ryan+Hartman%2C+who+refused+a+blood+alcohol+draw+at+the+scene.

Pamela Watts holds a 24oz can of Dos Equis beer in front of a memorial sign for Jennifer Miller while talking to KXAN reporter Jala Washington, Thursday, June 10, 2021, at San Marcos City Hall. An identical can was found on the night of the collision in the car of Sgt. Ryan Hartman, who refused a blood alcohol draw at the scene.

Sgt. Ryan Hartman of the San Marcos Police Department, who killed a woman in an off-duty car collision and used a stun gun on a complaint man, was indefinitely terminated from the department, according to city officials. 
City Manager Bert Lumbreras stated in a press release Hartman’s termination came because of sustained misconduct related to dereliction of duty and insubordination. 
The 14-year police veteran was able to return to duty following five months of paid leave after being involved in a car collision in June 2020 that resulted in the death of Jennifer Miller. According to police reports and forensic evidence, it was discovered after the collision that Hartman was driving while talking on the phone and did not attempt to break the vehicle during the crash. A more than half-empty open container of Dos Equis beer was also found inside his truck. 
Pamela Watts, Miller’s partner and the driver of the vehicle, has demanded justice and accountability from city leaders ever since the crash by leading numerous community protests. 
“I am proud that [Hartman] can no longer stand in judgment of others based on his own behavior,” Watts said. “I am still extremely upset that he was allowed to do so for as long as he did.” 
Reports indicated Hartman refused to take a blood-alcohol test at the scene and denied he had consumed any alcohol. Though his blood was tested for alcohol about three hours later, it came back below the legal level of intoxication. Hartman was later reinstated to the police force and was only charged with running a stop sign.
After the collision, Hartman was given five months of paid leave, a punishment Watts describes as a “vacation.” Just weeks after returning to duty, reports revealed Hartman used a stun gun on a compliant man last January. He was suspended for one week and returned to duty after completing desecration and officer tactical training.
According to Watts, the San Marcos Police Department needs significant changes in order to be openly transparent with the community. 
“They need to be transparent. They need to be transparent and whether that means opening a Citizens Advisory Committee or bringing in someone from the outside because they clearly cannot police themselves,” Watts said.
The University Star reached out to the San Marcos Police Department and Ryan Hartman but did not receive a response.

Donate to The University Star

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The University Star