Driver who hit woman in Austin had previous DWI charge

An Austin woman who was hit by a car is hoping her story will convince others not to get behind the wheel after drinking.
               
For the last week, Jahayra Sifuentes has been at UMC Brakenridge undergoing surgeries and physical therapy.

“She was barely recovering from one surgery and then going into another one and then going to another one, and that was the most painful thing in my heart and in my mind,” said Sifuents’ mother Ana Hernandez.

Sifuentes was lucky to be alive after a reportedly drunk driver crashed into the parked car she was standing in front of.

“She was pinned underneath the vehicle. It landed on top of her. It ripped off huge chunks of flesh,” said Brad Bonilla, Sifuentes’ attorney.

“What kind of person with a heart can do that? That is the most that I am upset about because they were yelling and screaming for help and he left,” Hernandez said.

Police found the car at 7th Street and I-35 and followed him, driving at times 100 mile per hour, until he crashed on Highway 290 in North Austin.

“How many other people were in harm’s way when he was speeding down the road? This happened to her, but it could have been anyone,” Bonilla said.

The driver, Philip Tombe, was arrested and charged with four third degree felonies; intoxication assault, two counts of failure to stop and render aid and evading arrest.

Sifuentes' lawyer said the most frustrating part is the whole thing could have been prevented because Tombe was convicted of driving while intoxicated last year and could have been ordered to have an interlock device in his car.

“Courts have discretion to make sure those interlock devices get put on the car and those interlock devices mean you can't drive drunk. You have to blow to make sure you can start your car,” Bonilla said.

Sifuentes hopes her story reminds others to find a sober ride home.

“Driving drunk is not good for the person driving drunk and not good for the person, whoever's getting injured, so just don't drink and drive. It's not worth it,”Sifuentes said.

If Tombe is convicted he faces up to ten years in prison for each charge.

Sifuentes could be discharged from the hospital Sunday, but will have months of physical therapy ahead of her.
 

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