Sam Montgomery
Sam Montgomery
Greenwood-bred NFL football player Sam Montgomery was exonerated Wednesday morning of a speeding ticket that led to his arrest late last month.

The ruling came during a hearing inside the Central Traffic Court building in Laurens. Montgomery was not present for the proceedings, but Magistrate Judge Paul Lyles accepted a not-guilty plea from Montgomery's attorney. State Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. R.S. Salter was not present in the courtroom either. Salter was the trooper who stopped the Cincinnati Bengals defensive end traveling along S.C. Highway 72 late the night of June 24 and arrested him. State Department of Public Safety officials announced the officer was suspended without pay less than 48 hours after the traffic stop, pending the outcome of an internal investigation. DPS spokesman noted the investigation centers on Salter’s June 24 encounter with Montgomery. SCHP officials noted during the trial that part of Salter’s suspension precluded him from prosecuting traffic cases for which he’d ticketed motorists.

Laurens attorney Jim C. Todd, who represented Montgomery during the hearing, argued that the charge against the former Louisiana State University standout should be dismissed because Salter was not available to present a case.

“I think it would be in the best interest of the state and for Mr. Montgomery to go ahead and move on from this,” Todd said. “I think that he has learned his lesson and he’s definitely going to slow down. And I think that one night in the Laurens County Detention Center will make anyone realize that. Therefore Mr. Montgomery should be released of this.”

According to a preliminary report from the Highway Patrol, Salter clocked Montgomery driving 89 mph in a 55 mph zone three miles west of Clinton. State attorneys from the Public Safety office beckoned the judge to continue the hearing to Aug. 25, testifying that Salter’s investigation would likely be resolved by then. When Lyles rejected their motion to push the court date back, the prosecutor testified that he was not ready to present a case in the matter. The judge consequently ruled in the defense’s favor.