Man charged in Wednesday’s deadly hit-and-run in South Austin


Highlights

Darrell Smitty, 56, has been charged with failure to stop and render aid.

Smitty went through an intersection and drove onto a sidewalk, where he hit a man, court documents say.

The victim died at the scene at South First Street and West Ben White Boulevard.

Austin police on Thursday arrested a man suspected of a fatal hit-and-run in which authorities say he barreled through a South Austin intersection Wednesday and slammed into a man walking near a bus stop.

Darrell Smitty, 52, has been charged with accident involving injury, a second-degree felony punishable with two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. Smitty will also be charged with failure to stop and render aid and could face additional charges, police said. He is being held at the Travis County Jail on $100,000 bail.

The pedestrian, 40-year-old Ernesto Gonzales Garcia, died at the scene.

Police said officers were called to the crash around 8 a.m. at South First Street and West Ben White Boulevard.

According to an arrest affidavit filed Thursday, a witness told police she had been sitting in her vehicle at a red light on the Ben White Boulevard access road just before the crash.

When it turned green, a man in a truck next to her in the right lane sped through the intersection to get around traffic, jumped a curb and drove onto the sidewalk, where he hit the victim, the affidavit says.

Police said the driver got out of his truck to assess the damage, then got back in and left.

The witness “told the driver of the pickup truck that he had just run over a person and she watched as he got back in his truck and drove away,” the affidavit says.

She gave police the vehicle’s license plate number, which was used to identify Smitty, along with video taken by passengers in a nearby bus, according to the report.

READ MORE: Use crosswalks, slow down: City urges caution after pedestrian deaths

The affidavit says Smitty did not have a valid license at the time of the crash, and his driving record showed three suspensions for driving without a valid license.

Public records obtained by the American-Statesman also show that Smitty has been convicted four times in Travis County for driving while intoxicated.

Wednesday’s crash was the fifth pedestrian fatality in Austin in a little more than a week.

A man in his 20s died late Sunday when a vehicle hit him on Manchaca Road near Frate Barker Road in South Austin. On July 27, a man in his 20s was killed by an 18-wheeler while trying to cross Interstate 35 near Sixth Street. A man in his 40s died June 26 when he was hit by a vehicle on East Anderson Lane at Norwood Park Boulevard. And on July 23, 37-year-old Scott Gerald Whiting died in a hit-and-run in the 5700 block of West Parmer Lane.

Authorities are urging people to be especially cautious on the road.



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