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Lubbock man scheduled to plead guilty to murder in 2016 crash

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 10:24 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A Lubbock man is scheduled to be on the guilty plea docket Tuesday for a murder charge from 2016. Jonathan Lovato, 38, initiated a police chase, causing a deadly wreck after running a red light.

In March of 2016, Lubbock police officers conducted an undercover drug deal from a hotel room. Reports show while police surveyed the room and obtained the search warrant, Lovato began taking items and attempted to leave in his car. Officers tried to detain him, but he drove off down 19th St., evading officers for several blocks while speeding and going against oncoming traffic.

Investigators say Lovato ran a red light and crashed into a maroon Mustang, killing 54-year-old Dung Ngoc “Nancy” Tran. Multiple vehicles were involved in the crash, shutting down the intersection at 19th and Avenue Q for hours. Five other people were taken to UMC with non-life threatening injuries.

After the wreck, officers say they found a pistol in Lovato’s waistband and 118.13 grams of methamphetamine in the glove box. Lovato admitted he had the gun and to selling the drug.

In November 2016, Lovato pleaded guilty to federal charges regarding his role in a meth distribution conspiracy. He was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison.

At the time, Lovato was a convicted felon with a lengthy criminal history. His indictment for the 2016 murder also lists prior convictions for burglary and forgery.

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