Man dies from injuries after SUV crashes into house; suspect in custody



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Posted on September 28, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 3 at 8:03 AM

AUSTIN -- Hours after a car smashed through a home in South Austin on Saturday, family and friends stood by in mourning and in shock.

"I've got a nephew who's going to grow up without knowing his father," one of the victim's family members said.

Tanya Basemore said her brother-in-law Wallace Lee Sorrells died from his injuries after the driver of an SUV ran him over while he was holding his three-year-old son.

"My sister lost a loved one and almost lost a baby," she said.

Austin police said 23-year-old Michael Smoltich ran a stop sign on Glen Meadow Drive off Stassney and South Congress just after 11 a.m. Saturday. Smoltich drove through a home's carport and into the backyard, hitting Sorrells and his son and pinning Bernando Gonzalez-Lopez underneath the car.

"The SUV came down from this street here, didn't stop, just kept coming," said family member Angelita Rangel.

Family members said that cars run the stop sign across from the house every day. They said they desperately want speed bumps in the neighborhood to slow drivers down.

"They can't play in their own yard without morons flying through here and ignoring the stop sign," Basemore said.

In this case the driver fled the scene and was later caught by police at a home on William Cannon Drive.

Smoltich has been charged on five different counts: one count of failure to stop and render aid, a second degree felony; two counts of failure to stop and render aid, third degree felonies; one count of driving while license is invalid and one count of leaving the scene, both misdemeanors.

According to the arrest affidavit, Smoltich admitted to taking a Xanax pill the night before the crash.

The man pinned underneath the SUV is still in the hospital with critical injuries. The family said the baby has some cuts and bruises but will be okay.