19-year-old struck in hit-and-run near downtown Austin last month dies


DOWNTOWN AUSTIN

19-year-old struck by hit-and-run driver dies

A 19-year-old woman hospitalized last month after she was struck in a hit-and-run near downtown Austin has died, authorities said.

Deemora Benson was crossing the southbound frontage road of Interstate 35 near East Seventh Street around 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 18 when she was hit by an SUV, police said.

Benson’s sister said the two had just left the Terminal 6 bar and that Benson was trying to prove she could “she could run fast in heels,” court documents said.

The driver, identified as 21-year-old Felipe Hernandez, originally fled the scene but later returned, police said.

He was arrested at the time and charged with failure to stop and render aid, a third-degree felony.

Benson, who was taken to Dell Seton Medical Center the night of the crash with a brain bleed and required immediate surgery, died on Sunday from her injuries, police said.

Benson on Thursday was not in the Travis County Jail, records show. Police did not say if additional charges would be filed against him.

Police are asking anyone with information about the case to call its vehicular homicide unit at 512-974-8544.

— Mary Huber, American-Statesman

EAST AUSTIN

2 men charged after series of food truck break-ins

Two men face multiple charges as suspects in a rash of burglaries that targeted food trucks in East Austin on Wednesday morning.

Marlo Javier Melendez, 17, and Luis Gerardo Vizcarra, 26, were both booked into the Travis County Jail on Wednesday morning and charged with multiple counts of burglary of a building. Vizcarra also was charged with theft of property and unauthorized use of a vehicle, jail records show.

An arrest affidavit filed against Melendez said Austin police were called to an H-E-B grocery store in the 2700 block of East Seventh Street around 6:40 a.m. after someone found a cash register in the parking lot.

Several slips inside the register showed that it came from the Poke Me Long Time food truck, which operates at 1606 East Sixth St., along with several other trucks.

When police went to check out the truck, they also found signs of forced entry at the Austin Halal, Dolce Bacio Gelato, Something Italian and Chopped and Skewed vehicles.

Items stolen from the businesses included iPads, cash registers, credit card payment devices and scales, the affidavit said.

Video footage from Poke Me Long Time showed two men break into the truck a swipe property from inside. Police tracked an iPad that was taken from Chopped and Skewed to a gas station at South Pleasant Valley Road and Elmont Drive, where they found both men, the affidavit said.

Melendez was sleeping inside of a stolen truck with property that had been taken from the food trucks inside, according to the affidavit.

Vizcarra told police he and Melendez were together through the morning and driving the stolen vehicle, court documents said.

Vizcarra is being held at the Travis County Jail on a combined bail of $60,000. Melendez bail has been set at a combined $50,000, jail records show.

— Mark D. Wilson, American-Statesman

PFLUGERVILLE

Woman killed, three injured in crash, police say

A 62-year-old woman was killed Thursday morning in a two-car collision at FM 685 and Old Austin Hutto Road in Pflugerville, police said.

The woman’s identity was not released. Three people also were injured in the wreck and hospitalized, according to police.

Old Austin Hutto Road was briefly closed because of the collision, which occurred shortly before 10:55 a.m.

A Ford Focus traveling south on FM 685 tried to turn east onto Old Austin Hutto and collided with a northbound Suzuki SUV, said Terri Toledo, a Pflugerville police spokeswoman.

A woman in the Ford Focus was killed and another person in the car was injured, Toledo said. Two others who were injured were in the Suzuki SUV.

— Claire Osborn, American-Statesman



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