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Family of man killed in 2020 hit-and-run still waiting for answers following Bridge City Police chief’s resignation

The former chief faced ongoing criticism for his department's handling of two deadly hit-and-run cases, which led to protests outside the department's headquarters.

BRIDGE CITY, Texas — Questions are lingering in Bridge City about the sudden retirement of the town’s long-time police chief.

The former chief faced ongoing criticism for his department's handling of two deadly hit-and-run cases, which led to protests outside the department's headquarters.

One family is speaking out about the chief's retirement. They're concerned as they're waiting for justice, and now they wonder whether that wait will be extended.

City manager Jerry Jones explained on Thursday why Bridge City Police Chief Paul Davis retired.

"Paul had talked to me several months back about trying to retire and doing some things that he wanted to do," Jones said. He prefers to remember Chief Davis for what he accomplished in 12 years.

"He came into a situation that was not ideal, made a lot of improvements,” Jones said. “The police department that we have now is exceptional."

Some in the community might disagree with that assessment. They point to what happened during Davis' last year in charge and the two high-profile hit-and-run deaths that came on the same night.

RELATED: 20-year-old woman dies in Bridge City head-on collision; man hit, killed by car minutes later

RELATED: Protest outside Bridge City Police calls for justice in June hit-and-run cases

"On June 13, my husband was run over and hit like a dog,” Mandi Jackson said in a 12News file story. “Left to die in the middle of the road. One of the busiest roads in this town. Your Chief of Police Paul Davis back there, you ask him why I never got a visit. Not one visit after my husband was killed to tell me he had been killed."

Jackson said the driver who killed her husband Robert more than a year ago hasn't been charged in his death. She said Davis promised her monthly updates in the case, but he rarely communicated with her.

"He released a statement that was essentially just a politically correct answer for a question that said 'I anticipate by the end of the month being able to press charges.’ That was several months ago, and we're still waiting," Jackson said.

Jillian Blanchard was also hit and killed by what the Blanchard and Jackson families believe was the same driver. An Orange County grand jury indicted Jerrod Lee Watkins for intoxication manslaughter in Jillian's case.

RELATED: Orange County man charged with intoxication manslaughter in June wreck in Bridge City

RELATED: Bridge City Police now anticipate charging man in June 2020 hit-and-run death of bicyclist, Robert Jackson

Jackson said she's still waiting for justice, but she questions why the chief left in the middle of a high-profile investigation.

"To me, that was just one more testament to the fact that Paul Davis knows and Bridge City Police Department knows that this investigation was not done correctly from the beginning," Jackson said.

Jackson said she won't stop fighting for justice and she hopes the next police chief doesn't either.

"Maybe you didn't do it right to begin with, but you can fix it now,” Jackson said. “And that's the thing about justice, it doesn't necessarily have a time limit, right? So, maybe he didn't serve justice on June 13, but he can surely serve it on July 1."

Our attempts to contact former Chief Davis have been unsuccessful. The city manager said the assistant chief and two captains are in charge, and they're searching for a new chief.

RELATED: Bridge City widow seeks answers nearly a year after hit-and-run death of husband

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