Hit-and-run victim was on his way to his job when killed

Markings from the hit-and-run investigation still remain at this bus stop on Ben White Boulevard. Austin police say 40-year-old Ernesto Garcia was struck by a truck that jumped the curb, killing him, the morning of August 1.

“He was going to one of his three jobs. He took the bus to this bus stop,” said Celine Steer, who has been in touch with those who knew Garcia.

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Police say 52-year-old Darrell Smitty hit Garcia, got out of the truck, looked at him, then got back in the car, and drove away. Garcia died at the scene. Friends say he had been living in Austin for eight years, and was working countless hours to save money.

…Eighty hours a week…all to send the money back to his family, five kids.

One of the girls was studying, she was finishing up. "They relied on him for that,” said Steer. 

Steer says Garcia had been discussing the possibility of moving back to Guatemala. “He was loved dearly by many people, the people with whom he lived with here in Austin, the people with whom he worked, and his family back in Guatemala,” said Katie Deolloz, executive director of Bike Austin.

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The group, which advocates for cyclist and pedestrian safety, is behind the family in this time of tragedy and grief. “Driving automobiles at high rates of speed, with a lack of patience where somebody feels they need to beat the bus, and they are driving on the sidewalk, striking and killing a human being: I say there are a lot of things that contributed to the preventable death of Ernesto,” said Deolloz.

The group has started raising money for the family. A service will be held for Ernesto here in Austin, then his body will be returned to his family in Guatemala.

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The funeral will be held at The Mission Funeral Home on Saturday from 4:00-9:00 p.m.