Father, son killed in Lyon Twp. crash
As a recent transplant from Texas and stay-at-home dad, Pedro Montanez was devoted to his three children — taking them to school, helping with their homework, even cooking chocolate chip pancakes.
“He was just a good dad,” said his wife, Jennifer Montanez.
As part of those daily duties, Pedro Montanez was driving with his children Tuesday morning to Kent Lake Elementary School in South Lyon.
But the New Hudson family never reached their destination.
Around 8:03 a.m. Tuesday, Montanez, 36, was killed when his car, a 2005 Mazda 3 on westbound Pontiac Trail, was struck by a 1994 Ford Super Duty truck. Montanez’s 9-year-old son, Steven Timothy Montanez, also died in the crash.
Now, the family is planning for a funeral and tending to the remaining two siblings, Michael, 10, and Valencia, 6. They were hospitalized in critical and stable condition, respectively, Tuesday night, Jennifer Montanez said.
Counselors and social workers were expected to be on hand Wednesday at Kent Lake Elementary, where Steven was a third-grader and his siblings were in first and fifth grades, said Bill Pearson, superintendent of South Lyon Community Schools.
“It’s a tragic accident,” he said. “We all feel bad for the Montanez family.”
According to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, “Mr. Montanez lost control on the snow-covered roadway, went left of center, crossing into the eastbound lanes of Pontiac Trail, into the path of a 1994 Ford Super Duty truck pulling a landscaping trailer.”
A 25-year-old Farmington Hills resident was driving the truck.
“The driver of the Ford Super Duty attempted to avoid the Mazda 3 by running off the roadway to the right onto the shoulder,” sheriff’s officials said. “The Ford Super Duty broadsided the Mazda 3 on the passenger side of the vehicle.”
Montanez was pronounced dead at the scene. Steven Montanez, his brother and sister were freed from the vehicle by the Lyon Township Fire Department and taken to CS Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. Steven was pronounced dead at the hospital, the sheriff’s office said.
The driver of the Ford Super Duty was not injured, authorities said.
The sheriff’s office said alcohol does not appear to have been a factor in the crash; each person was wearing a seat belt and the girl was in a proper booster seat.
The crash remained under investigation.
Parents at the school were notified Tuesday, Pearson said.
The family had relocated from Texas about a year and a half ago, when Jennifer Montanez came for a job.
Pedro Montanez had previously spent about 16 years as an officer with the corrections department in Texas, his wife said.
In Michigan, the family loved spending time together — playing the Minecraft video game, going to the park or other activities, said Jacklyn Cruz, Jennifer’s sister.
Along with his wife, Pedro Montanez also was committed the CrossFit workout routine, Cruz said. “That’s what he loved.”
Meanwhile, Steven Montanez was “really smart, helpful,” his mother said from the hospital Tuesday night.
“He always got A’s, 100 percent. He was always nice to other little kids.”
When Steven and his father were together, Cruz said, “they were just fun — free spirits.”
Staff Writer Tom Greenwood contributed.