An argument after a night of drinking turned deadly when a man ran over his longtime girlfriend in a grocery store parking lot, Montana cops say.
It led to the arrest of Bradley Nagel, 53, who stayed in the Missoula parking lot while bystanders attempted to revive the woman, according to court documents. The victim, Lucille Synek, “sustained multiple crushing injuries to her body” and died at a local hospital, police said.
Nagel, who told officers he did not mean to run over his girlfriend, was charged with deliberate homicide and driving under the influence. He was jailed on a $1 million bail, The Missoulian reported.
Officers were first dispatched to the WinCo Foods grocery store parking lot around 8:40 p.m. Saturday for reports that a driver had struck a pedestrian, court documents show. Dispatchers learned the female victim was turning blue and good Samaritans were administering CPR.
As first responders arrived and found Synek’s “injuries were severe,” a responding corporal located Nagel in a Dodge Dakota, an affidavit states. Nagel showed signs he had been drinking, as the officer observed his eyes were bloodshot, glossy and dilated, his movements were slow and deliberate, and his breath smelled of alcohol, according to court documents.
He later told officers he had three whiskeys and two or three beers at a nearby bar, where he was drinking with Synek.
Nagel said he and Synek were arguing about their relationship when he attempted to cool off by leaving the area in his truck, according to court documents. Synek stood in front of his truck.
“Nagel drove his truck forward in a jerking fashion, hoping that Synek would move out of the way,” according to the affidavit. “Nagel explained that at some point Synek fell to the ground, and he ran her over.”
One witness heard Synek yell, “Stop. I’m stuck,” before Nagel drove forward into his girlfriend. Another witness said Nagel told Synek, “Get up, Lucy. Don’t die on me” before he moved his vehicle away from her, court documents show.
“I just killed my old lady,” Nagel told a witness, police said. That witness concluded the incident was an accident.
Police reviewed surveillance footage from the grocery store, which showed the two arguing outside the truck before the fatal incident. As the boyfriend drove forward and made contact with Synek, the truck moved her body from the front-end of the truck to the driver’s side.
“The truck then accelerated, and the female fell onto her stomach,” police said in their review of the surveillance. “She landed underneath the truck between the front and rear driver-side tires. Once the female had fallen underneath the truck, the male stopped briefly before accelerating and driving over the female with his rear tire.”
He stood over her body for “a short time” before moving the truck into a parking spot, according to the affidavit.
Nagel later explained to officers that he “goosed it” and “boom, I guess I ran her over by the head.” He told officers he thought his girlfriend would move but she didn’t, police said.
Prosecutors argued during Nagel’s initial court hearing Tuesday that he showed a “total disregard for the victim’s life” and he consciously made a choice to harm her, The Missoulian reported.