String of Austin accidents leave three dead, others injured


by MORGAN CHESKY / KVUE News and Photojournalist SCOTT MCKENNEY

Posted on October 2, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 2 at 6:01 PM

AUSTIN -- Three accidents happened in different parts of the Austin Tuesday morning -- one at Highway 71, another at I-35, and the third fatal crash in an East Austin neighborhood. The one factor they have in common is they all happened in the early morning hours Tuesday within a few hours of one another.

Emergency lights and crime scene tape stretched from the highways to quiet neighborhoods. Two pedestrians are dead, killed in collisions police say could have been avoided.

"All we can say, reiterate, ingrain in people's minds is do not try to cross a highway where you're not supposed to," said Senior Austin Police Officer Veneza Bremner.


Police say that's what happened at Highway 71 and FM 973, when a car fatally struck a 20-year-old man walking across at 4:30 a.m. Seven minutes later, another death of similar circumstances, at I-35 near 32nd Street.

"It looks like the pedestrian ran out in front of traffic," said Bremner. "That aspect of it is being investigated."

The deaths come just weeks after a new initiative by the Austin Police Department to ticket pedestrians crossing roads illegally.

In East Austin there was an accident of a different kind. Broken pieces strewn across a front yard are all that remain of the truck carrying the driver and four teenagers caught up in a deadly crash.

Police spotted the truck driving a few blocks away with its headlights turned off. When police followed, the truck it took off, slamming into a tree in Jay Herrera's yard.

"Something hit real hard, and I thought someone hit my car," said Herrera.

The driver died at the scene. The passengers, all between 16 and 18 years of age, were taken to the hospital. Two remain in critical condition, following a night filled with loss. Police are not releasing the names of the victims at this time.

Tuesday morning's pedestrian deaths now make 56 traffic fatalities in Austin this year. This time last year that number stood at just 42.

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