Johnny Whiting said he does not know how long his son, Scott Gerald Whiting, lay dead in the grass in North Austin after being struck by a hit-and-run driver last month. That’s what disturbs him the most.
He wonders whether the driver who hit him thought of stopping. If he had, would his son still be alive?
“These are things that, of course, no doubt I will never know,” Johnny Whiting told reporters Thursday. “It is something that causes myself and his mother a lot of anger.”
Around 6:30 a.m. on July 23, a cyclist discovered Scott Whiting’s body in the 5700 block of West Parmer Lane near McNeil Drive. He was already dead, and the driver who hit him had fled the scene.
Police have not found any photos, video or witnesses who can identify the person responsible.
On Thursday, Johnny Whiting, mourning the loss of his only son, pleaded for information that could lead to an arrest.
“I am of the opinion that someone knows who did this,” he said. “Someone other than the driver.”
Austin police Lt. Blake Johnson said investigators do not know exactly when Scott Whiting was hit, but many of his co-workers said he liked to walk to work and was likely doing so when he was struck. The stretch of Parmer Lane where he was killed did not have a sidewalk, and police aren’t sure if he was in the bike lane or the grass when he was hit.
“We want the public to revisit that day in their memory,” Johnson said. “If they live in that area, work in that area, coming and going, any small piece of information they remember, from a vehicle … make, model, partial license plate, color. There is no piece of information that is too small.”
Johnny Whiting said the driver would feel better if he or she came forward.
“When you do something you know is wrong, it stays with you,” he said. “Everything stays with you. Food doesn’t taste the same. You don’t enjoy music as much as you did. You know that basically you were responsible for the death of a person. Just like I am never going to forget my son Scott, I am never going to forget him and what happened, this driver is never going to forget what he did. … At some point in time this will get to the driver, assuming the driver has a conscience.”
After his son’s death, Johnny Whiting started taking care of his beagle, Emmitt. The dog still walks to the door around the time Scott Whiting would have gotten off work, expecting him to open the door.
“He and I are getting to know each other,” Johnny Whiting said. “When you start thinking about losing a child, nothing can compare to it. I lost my mother. I lost my father. I lost my brother. Nothing compares.”
Scott Whiting, 37, was born in San Antonio. He worked at a medical technology company and had studied at the University of Texas. His father described him as engaging and well-loved.
“Scott made an impact on people’s lives,” he said.
Friends have set up a memorial fund for him, which by Thursday had collected more than $5,000. His father said the money will be used to fund a Crime Stoppers campaign to help find the person responsible.
Authorities are already offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and have asked anyone with information about the crash to contact Crime Stoppers at 512-472-8477 or through the “P3 Tips” smartphone app.
All tips are anonymous.
Austin police say 44 people have died so far this year in traffic crashes here. That includes 17 pedestrians, many of whom were killed in the span of a few weeks this summer. Twenty-three pedestrians died in traffic incidents last year, and 28 in 2016.