Officers with the Austin Police Department have arrested a man they said struck a woman on her bicycle and then dragged her under the vehicle for over 2,000 feet.
According to the arrest affidavit, Artemio Gomez Avila, 41, was driving his truck Tuesday night when he allegedly hit Elizabeth English near the corner of Airport Boulevard and E. Martin Luther King Boulevard and then dragged her to the 1900 block of Greenwood Avenue.
English suffered serious injuries including the loss of most of her right buttocks, loss of part of her right pelvis, and an exposed lower spine. Officers said all of the areas had been worn away by the pavement as she was dragged under the vehicle.
The affidavit said after Avila struck and dragged English, he allegedly drove away from the scene without waiting for help.
Detectives investigating the crash said Avila initially said he wasn’t near the intersection at the time of the accident and that he had lent his car to another person. However, his statement was contradicted by his cousin who lived with him.
When detectives confronted Avila with inconsistencies with his story, they said Avila admitted that he had been involved in an incident at the location of the crash. The arrest affidavit stated that Avila told police he was turning to go eastbound on MLK Blvd and had a green arrow to turn.
Avila told detectives that when he turned, he heard a slight bump on the passenger side of the truck but didn’t hear or see anything else. Detectives said witnesses told them they could hear English screaming as she was being dragged down the street and said Avila’s claim was “not credible.”
"I was sitting on my couch and I heard her cry for help,” said neighbor Ella Feaster.
Neighbors rushed to help.
"That's when I saw the young lady's body -- about in here." said Roger Taylor Junior.
Avila was charged with a third degree felony of failure to stop and render aid with serious bodily injury. Pat Bastidas, co-founder of Please Be Kind to Cyclists, said this is the time when the community is needed the most.
"We have a program called tragedy assistance program, where we do try and help the victim's family. It's mainly a support system," Bastidas said.
The hospital staff caring for English told detectives that she may not live due to the extent of her injuries.
"What he did he needs to pay for that, because that was a human life,” Feaster said. “If you don't have respect for the next person, then who do you have respect for?”
Even though neighbors don't personally know the victim the say they're there for her, praying and waiting for her full recovery.
"I just thank God that she is alive,” Bradshaw said.
English's friends said on her GoFundMe page that she is in good spirits. Avila was given a $100,000 bond on the charge, which could be upgraded at a later time.