On October 26th, 2001, Chante Jawan Mallard hit Gregory Glenn Biggs with her vehicle. She drove home and left him lodged in her windshield as she parked in the garage. Chante was a nursing assistant, but she didn't render aid to Gregory as he was dying. She was convicted and sentenced to 50 years imprisonment for her role in his death.
The story we're covering today has been the inspiration for several true-crime dramatizations. It was adapted in episodes of CSI, Fargo and Law & Order and served as the basis for the 2007 film Stuck, 2009's Hit and Run, and 2009's Accident on Hill Road. This also inspired a scene from a FOX show we watch called 9-1-1. In season 3, a woman hits a homeless man after crashing into him with her car. The man was lodged in the windshield of her car and the woman drove around town for nearly two days before someone stopped her. The case was covered in a film called Midnighters which was written by Alston Ramsay who said, “I was inspired to write this film after reading about the case in the newspaper. You just wonder how this could have happened. This was a woman who is trained to help people, and she didn't respond to someone who was begging for help in her own garage.”
On October 25th, 2001, around 11 PM, 25-year-old Chante Jawan Mallard went out for a night of fun at a friend's apartment. She had a few drinks, smoked pot, and took ecstasy before heading out to a nightclub called Joe's Big Bamboo Club, where she continued to drink with friends. Chante left the club around 2:30 AM with her friend Titilisee (Teet-a-lee-say) Fry who also goes by T.
Chante attempted to drive, but her friend could tell that she was intoxicated, so T drove. After they drove to T's home, Chante got into her vehicle around 3 AM and she was heading home, but accidentally hit a homeless man, 37-year-old Gregory Glenn Biggs with her vehicle. The accident took place on a six-lane highway about 5 miles southeast of downtown Fort Worth. The force of the crash sent him over the hood and into her windshield where he got lodged inside, halfway through the glass and he was critically injured. Chante chose not to call the police, seek help, or even provide medical aid to the man, even though she was a nurse’s aide. Instead, she drove home, which was about a mile away and parked in the garage, and she left Gregory in her windshield, bleeding and whimpering for help. Chante says that she checked on him several times and she apologized to him, but she never did anything to help, and he died several hours later.
The friend that Chante was out partying with testified that Chante called her around 3:30 AM and whispered, T, come pick me up. When she arrived at her home, Chante came running out, jumped into the car, and started screaming for her to drive. The two of them tried to track down Terrence at his apartment and at his sister's house, but they couldn't find him, so they headed back to Chante's home. She told T that she had hit a white guy and she was sorry and didn't mean to do it. She said she tried to get him off of the car near the Martin/Village Creek area, but he was too heavy. She admitted that the man was still alive when she drove into the garage, and she knew this because she could hear him moaning. When they got back to the house, T went into the garage and saw the back side of Gregory's body sticking out of the windshield and she told Chante to call 911, but she didn't. They both ended up leaving the home so they could go to sleep at T's house.
The next morning, Chante borrowed T's car and cell phone and she attempted to locate her ex-boyfriend, Clete (Cl-ee-t) Deneal Jackson. He woke up to more than 20 voicemails from her and she met up with him at his grandmother's house and the two of them drove back to Chante's. On the way, she said she messed up real bad and she was frantic. She told him she had been in a car accident, but she never mentioned anything about a body being lodged in her windshield. When they entered the garage, Chante screamed and said, “I hit somebody, he’s still in the car.” Clete touched Gregory's body with a rake to see if he was still alive, but he didn't move.
Clete later testified, “If I could have given him blood, I would have. He was already deceased. None of us stopped to think what if. We were scared, we panicked.” He had recently been released from prison, so he feared that he would get in trouble again if he went to the police instead of helping Chante to get rid of the body. He said, “I finally got my life back, to be a father to my kids. I knew she got me in trouble.”
He explained that he helped her because “If she shot somebody and called me, I knew it would be on purpose. If she stabbed somebody and called me, I knew it would be on purpose. You don't hit nobody on purpose. She panicked. I knew it was an accident.”
He testified that Chante said she had unsuccessfully tried to remove Gregory from the windshield immediately after hitting him and even broke the glass with her arm. She acknowledged knowing that he was alive when she pulled into the garage. Chante's friend suggested that they burn Gregory's corpse so he wouldn't be found, but they didn't like this idea. Clete told her, “We ain't going to burn no body. We're just going to leave him somewhere so they can bury him because it was an accident.”
He said he did not want to bury the body, he wanted to put him in an area where he would be found so his family could bury him. Clete and Chante borrowed a friend's car and Clete shoveled the body into a blanket, tied the blanket and put it in the trunk of the car and drove to Cobb Park. He called his cousin, Herbert Tyrone Cleveland and the two men removed the body from the trunk and laid it on the ground. After leaving the park, they threw the blanket away and went through a car wash.
Gregory's body was discovered on October 27th, at Cobb Park in Forth Worth. Two men saw a firefighter, Todd Breedlove leaving the station and they told him there was a dead body in Cobb Park. The firefighter continued to lock up and it took about a minute to drive to the park. After checking the body and realizing there was no pulse, he called 911.
When the police arrived, they saw that the man's shoes and socks were missing, and his injuries made investigators believe that he was a victim of a hit-and-run. But they quickly realized that there was no blood present at the scene, so they knew his body had been moved to the park. An autopsy was performed on the body and the medical examiner, Dr. Nizam Peerwani, concluded that Gregory had died several hours after he was hit. “He couldn't have died instantaneously. There was some interval of time before he died. We are talking hours.”
The autopsy showed that Gregory's left leg had almost been amputated, which resulted in severe blood loss and then death. His cause of death was listed as “multiple traumatic injuries sustained in auto/pedestrian collision” and the manner of death was homicide. The medical examiner concluded that Gregory had not been injured near the park because the speeds necessary to inflict his injuries would have been almost impossible in that area. It was his opinion that Gregory Biggs had bled to death. The autopsy results were initially classified as pending, but the status changed to could not be determined on January 7th, 2002 when they still couldn't find any information about the victim's death. This was later changed to homicide based on the new information that came in.
Four months later, the police got the tip they needed. Maranda Daniel reported that around Valentine's Day, she had been at a friend's house with six other girls, including Chante Mallard. They were all talking and drinking, and they were trying to decide who would be the driver when they went out later that evening. Maranda told police that Chante said she couldn't drive. When the other ladies asked her why, she giggled and said that she hit a man with her car, and he had gone through the windshield. Maranda said that Chante was laughing when she said, “I hit this white man.”
Maranda said that Chante explained that she was on Ecstasy and was drunk at the time of the crash. Chante also allegedly told her that when she returned home after the crash, her boyfriend was in the house and the two of them had sex before she went back to the garage to check on Gregory. It was mentioned that Chante allegedly planned to destroy her car and make an insurance claim. Chante later denied this account, but police obtained a warrant to search her home on February 26th, 2002.
There were pieces of evidence found in her home, including the damaged car in her garage with the seats missing, stains on the floorboard of the vehicle, car seats burnt in the backyard, and a pool of blood on the garage floor. Forensic tests showed blood and hair from the victim still lodged in remnants of the car's windshield. She was initially charged with failing to stop and render aid, but the charge was later changed to murder and tampering with evidence after the results of Gregory's autopsy came out. The two men that helped Chante dispose of the body were also charged with tampering with evidence. Chante was brought to the police station and agreed to make a statement.
During the confession, Chante said that she only had two drinks at the party, and she believed someone had slipped something into her drink and she denied having sex with her boyfriend while Gregory was dying in her garage. She told the police that after his body was removed from the windshield, it took several days before she was able to go back to the garage. Once she did, she removed the seats from her car and put them in the backyard and burned one of the seats.
27-year-old Clete Deneal Jackson pleaded guilty to tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. 24-year-old Herbert Tyrone Cleveland was indicted on the same charge. He also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 9 years in prison. Both men agreed to testify against Chante.
Chante's attorney, Mike Heiskell, said that his client isn't a monster, she just made a bad decision. “She was simply a frightened, emotionally distraught young woman who had an accident, panicked and made a wrong choice.” Lieutenant David Burgess from the Fort Worth Police Department said that Chante was charged with murder because she could have prevented Gregory's death. “There's a pretty good possibility he'd be alive if he'd gotten help, but she concealed the body in the garage.”
Chante testified that, “When I hit him, it was a very loud noise. All this glass started flying in the car, followed by a lot of wind. And the glass was just cutting at my skin, stinging me.” She explained that she briefly got out of the car, and she tried to touch Gregory, but that's when she panicked and drove home with his leg protruding from the windshield, and she knew he was still alive. She said, “I didn't know what to do. I started screaming. I just started yelling.”
Chante said, “I drove my 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier toward home and that's how I was on Freeway 287. I think when I was coming around the bend from Loop 820, before Village Creek, all of a sudden, bam, he was just there. I realized that it was a person I had hit, and he had come through the right front windshield. I was scared and terrified and the car didn't even slow down. He was on my car and stuck through the right front windshield. I parked my car in the garage, and I put the door down. I wanted to take him to the hospital, but I was so scared.” Chante said that Gregory moaned and his nearly severed leg was on the dashboard. She pulled into her garage and lowered the door, then cried and kept apologizing to him.
The medical examiner Dr. Nizam Peerwani testified in court that Chante's act of continuing to drive the vehicle home after the accident further aggravated Gregory's injuries. It's his opinion that leaving him inside the garage without medical help is what caused his death. Prosecution witnesses believe that Gregory probably lived for about two hours.
Dr. Nizam Peerwani said Gregory had no “instantaneously fatal injuries. He did not have any spinal cord trauma, no brain trauma, no major cardiac lacerations or lacerations to the aorta or major blood vessels.” He had “serious injuries”, but he could have stayed alive for many hours.
Captain Jim Sowder said, “There's not a member of the Forth Worth Fire Department that could not have saved Mr. Bigg's life.” He talked about what emergency medical personnel call the “golden hour”. This is the 60 or so minutes following a trauma that could make or break a victim's chance of survival. He said, “Mr. Biggs' injuries were not life threatening if they were treated early on after the causation of the accident.”
Gregory broke his arm, his right leg in two places and nearly amputated his lower left leg, according to Dr. Raymond Swienton, an emergency medicine physician University of Texas Southwest Medical Center, there was no way to assess whether doctors would have been able to save his leg if he received help, but “his injuries were limited to his extremities.” According to his autopsy, he suffered no internal injuries from the crash. He bled to death.
Chante testified for almost two hours. She said she deserved to be sentenced to prison, but she didn't know for how long. She said her life had been in a downward spiral for years before the accident and she had been smoking marijuana several times a day, even while she was working at retirement homes.
Defense attorney Jeff Kearney argued that she should be found guilty of failing to stop and render aid, not murder. He argued for leniency and pointed out that she had no prior convictions and he pointed out that his client was placed in extraordinary circumstances. He said, “Please don't destroy another life. Please give her a chance to prove she can do something good.”
In his closing arguments, Jeff Kearney said that the prosecution had not made, “a clear, convincing case for murder” and claimed the state's witnesses “are not very credible.” He said, “The act has to cause the death. If failure to provide medical help caused the death, then they cannot prove murder. It was the failure to get medical help, not any act.”
Prosecutor Richard Alpert said, “She stole his life. She stole his hope of anyone else saving his life. That's murder.”
County Assistant District Attorney Christy Jack said, “She could have saved him. Doesn't that speak volumes about her character? Doesn't that speak volumes about the atrocity of this crime?” She said that Chante had “the wherewithal to lie to the police. She lied about the number of drinks she had, about the pot, and taking Ecstasy. She said someone put something in her drink.” Christy asked only for a sentence and not a fine stating, “You cannot buy justice in this county.”
Chante Jawan Mallard pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence but pleaded not guilty to murder. The jury took 50 minutes to reach a verdict and she was found guilty of both offenses and sentenced to 50 years in prison for murder and 10 years for tampering with evidence. Chante looked down and silently cried as the judge read the verdict. According to detention records obtained by PEOPLE, her projected release date is March 3rd, 2052, but she is eligible for parole in 2027.
During Chante's trial, she addressed Gregory's son and explained that her mind had been too muddled by fear and drugs to call for help and she said, “I am so sorry, Brandon. I am so sorry for what I have caused your family and I am sorry for the pain I have put my family through. I am so sorry for the crime I've done to society; I really am very sorry.”
She explained that she feared she would be arrested and, “I couldn't think to do the right thing.” “I have ruined the lives of other people. I have ruined my family's life. I have put people through pain.”
Gregory's son, Brandon Biggs, spoke to the court just moments after the sentence was announced and he said, “To the Mallard family, we would like to say that we are sorry for your loss as well. To Chante, I personally would like to say I would accept your apology, and, in return, I hope that you will accept my forgiveness and the forgiveness of Jesus Christ.” During his victim impact statement, he told the Mallard family: “There's no winners in a case like this. Just as we all lost Greg, you all will be losing your daughter.” He was asked if it took time to put aside feelings of hatred and he said, “Yes, it was a process. But it was a quick process. I knew I had to extend forgiveness immediately.”
Gregory was a bricklayer who was down on his luck. He had been dating a woman who had some financial problems and he decided to loan her money to help. He was a was self-employed and relied on his truck for work. However, he couldn't make payments, and his truck was eventually repossessed. Without his truck, he couldn't work and then he lost his house. He suffered from mental illness from his teenage years, and he was diagnosed with bipolar and schizophrenia. It was a little frustrating because every psychiatrist told him something different and at various times, manic depression and schizophrenia were diagnosed according to his mom. He was taking medications, but since he lost his income, he couldn't afford medication, and his mental health issues made it difficult for him to get another job.
At the time of the accident, Gregory had been staying at a homeless shelter and worked as a mason. Denver Moore bunked with Gregory at the Union Gospel Mission for homeless men and said, “Within the homeless circle, he was a friendly person trying to do something to get established. He deserved a chance to live too.” His mother said that he was on the way to getting his life back on track when he died. He had limited interaction with his family at the time of his death, but his son Brandon Biggs said that he talked to his father two months before he died and he said, “He was a caring guy. He liked for us to do things together, go see movies or go to the mall.”
During a memorial service that was held for Gregory, his mother, Meredith said, “we are glad to have this ceremony to get some sort of closure. We wanted people to know that he was loved.” Reverend Don George of Calvary Temple delivered the eulogy at Crown Hill Memorial Park, and he said, “Gregory Biggs now has a home in heaven greater than any mansion in Dallas County.” White carnations and purple irises lay over the freshly dug grave near a marker that read, “Gregory Glenn Biggs, in loving memory, August 16th, 1964 to October 26th, 2001.”
Brandon Biggs had voiced sympathy for Chante Mallard, even though she was responsible for his father's death. In response, convicted murderers that were on death row, from around the country raised $10k for him. His statement drew the attention of the Roman Catholic parish in Perrysburg, Ohio, that oversees publication of Compassion, a newsletter featuring introspective articles by death-row inmates. The editor, Dennis Skillicorn wrote, “What a wonderful way to show our society an alternative to violence, a concept so often forgotten.” Through advertising and other revenues, the contributors created a scholarship fund and had it presented at a ceremony to him. Obviously, the inmates weren't allowed to attend the ceremony, so the presentation was made by Jeanette Popp, whose 20-year-old daughter, Nancy DePriest, was murdered in Austin in 1988.
In her daughter's case, two men were wrongfully convicted and spent 12 years in prison before the real killer could get anyone to believe his confession. Jeanette is a member of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and she said she shunned revenge after her daughter was murdered. She said, “I never wanted to stain her name with someone else's blood.”
Another presenter, Rick Halperin, a history professor at Southern Methodist University and a prominent opponent of capital punishment, praised Brandon Biggs as a humanitarian and the prisoners for their scholarship. He said, “They have done horrible things, most of them, but they are human beings. They are not subhuman monsters worthy of extermination.”
Brandon said, “I still want to extend my forgiveness to Chante Mallard and let her know that the Mallard family is in my prayers.” He said, “If love is what makes the world go round, compassion makes it sincere.”