AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Austin police said a driver hit a woman who was riding an electric scooter and left her bleeding in the street as he drove away.
This happened around 12:40 Saturday morning near the intersection of East Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard and Alamo Street. “I thought she died and I was screaming. I was screaming bloody murder,” said Sarah Pearce who witnessed the crash.
Pearce was driving home from work when she saw a man in a white Kia and a woman on an electric scooter in front of her. They were both headed the same direction on Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard at the time. “It looked like [he] purposefully swerved and hit the woman on the scooter,” Pearce said.
“You heard her hit the car, but her hitting the ground was louder than her hitting the car,” she added.
Pearce immediately pulled into a parking lot and ran to help.
She said five other people also stopped to make sure the victim was okay.
As Pearce got closer, she saw the woman lying in a pool of blood, but had no way of knowing how severe her injuries were. “She's deaf, she just got struck by a car, her head is profusely bleeding and we can't communicate with her,” Pearce said.
The driver was gone. “This person just hit her, slammed on their brakes and drove right off. They didn't care,” said Pearce. Austin police responded to the scene and asked nearby patrol officers to keep an eye out for a white Kia Soul.
The passenger side mirror was knocked off by the impact, which helped identify the car involved.
Within minutes, an officer on Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard spotted the car and stopped the driver. “So that was a blessing. I was thanking God so much I was like, ‘Please, Lord, let them find this person because this person does need to suffer the consequences of that,’” Pearce said.
The driver was identified as 70-year-old Jerrell Bennett.
“I thought she died and I was screaming. I was screaming bloody murder,” said Sarah Pearce who witnessed a hit-and-run crash involving a woman on an electric scooter Saturday. Police arrested 70-year-old Jerrell Bennett for failure to stop and render aid. Story @fox7austin @ 9 pic.twitter.com/Z2RFjcAImz— Jennifer Kendall (@jenniferonFOX7) May 21, 2019
Court documents said police asked if he was involved in a crash and he admitted he was, claiming someone ran in front of his car and he was unable to get around her.
Bennett then told officers he checked his rearview mirror after the impact and saw the victim stand up so he kept driving. But Pearce said the scooter rider was visible and the driver was long gone before the victim made it to her feet.
“She had to be unconscious for about four minutes,” said Pearce.
The victim was taken to the Dell Seton Medical Center with a severe head injury that was considered life threatening. Doctors later said she is expected to survive. “I would love to tell her that I prayed for her and she was on my mind every single day after this,” Pearce said.
Bennett was charged with failure to stop and render aid, a third degree felony.
His bond was set at $15,000.