Suspect in fatal hit-and-run in custody

Austin police arrested a man they said hit and killed a pedestrian Wednesday morning and then left the scene. 52-year-old Darrell Smitty was charged with failure to stop and render aid and booked into the Travis County Jail.

A witness watched in horror as Smitty's truck hit the man who was walking to the bus stop. 

“I keep replaying everything in my head and asking, ‘Is there something that I could've done to help prevent this?’ And it's just so unfortunate,” said the woman who has asked to remain anonymous. 

She was stopped at Ben White Blvd. and South First Street moments before a truck ran over a pedestrian. She said there was a bus in front of her and a white GMC pickup truck in the right lane next to her when the light turned green.  

“The bus had just stopped and I heard honking and I looked to my right and I saw this truck, who was going at a very high rate of speed, jump the curb and was driving on the sidewalk and within seconds it seemed like he hit the victim,” she said.  

Police said the victim was 40-year-old Ernesto Garcia. 

“He flew in the air and he hit the ground and the driver drove over him and drug him under his truck for a few more feet, running over him, and the driver continued to drive on the sidewalk and hit a metal trash can right past the bus stop,” said the woman.  

Garcia died instantly. The witness was shocked. 

“I was already panicked. I was so upset and shocked and sick and just couldn't believe what I had just witnessed,” she said.  

Still, she immediately jumped out to help. 

“My first thing was to make sure the pedestrian was okay, which as I approached the pedestrian I noticed he unfortunately had already passed, and I knew my next step was I'm on the phone with dispatch, I need to go after the guy who did this,” said the witness.  

The woman started trying to memorize every detail of the suspect and his truck as she chased him down. 

“I was telling him, ‘you hit someone and killed someone.’ He kept saying, ‘No, no, I didn't, I didn't hit anyone,’” she said.  

Finally, the driver, whom police identified as 52-year-old Darrell Smitty, stepped out of his truck. 

“As soon as he started to walk toward the end of his truck and he actually saw the guy laying there is when he took off back to his truck and left,” said the woman.  

She couldn't believe her eyes. 

“He 100 percent saw that person after he hit him, and looked at him, and knew that he had killed someone, and he was able to just get in his car and leave like he did nothing wrong,” she said. 

Thanks to the identifying information that witness gave police, officers tracked down and arrested Smitty Thursday. 

Failure to stop and render aid is a second degree felony. Police said there could be additional charges filed as the investigation continues.

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