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Austin man arrested after vehicle fatally ran over child now facing manslaughter charges

Charges were elevated late last month from a third-degree to a second-degree felony.

AUSTIN, Texas — A man who was arrested after his vehicle reportedly ran over a 13-year-old child in early April 2022 is now being charged with manslaughter, a second-degree felony. 

Charges against Xavier Zarate, 41, were elevated late last month, according to court documents. He was previously charged with injury to a child with intent to cause bodily injury, a third-degree felony. 

According to court documents, two juvenile subjects had possibly engaged in criminal mischief the evening of April 10, allegedly throwing feces on Xavier Zarate's doorstep. Zarate, 41, reported the two had committed prior mischief and/or vandalism against him before.

After the incident, Zarate reportedly got into his Ford SUV and drove eastbound on the 1700 block of Marcus Abrams Blvd. to confront the juveniles. That's a street off of Menchaca Road. As he approached them, he said he exited his vehicle and immediately confronted both boys.

Documents state that a third-party witness reported that Zarate rolled up behind the juveniles and immediately began "punching" them. The witness stated that they then walked toward the fight to break it up when they observed Zarate's vehicle begin to move forward as if it was not placed into park. 

Credit: Austin Police Department
Xavier Zarate, 41

According to the witness, the vehicle then drove over one of the juveniles and a bike that was near him. The witness reported that they then observed the juvenile laying face up with trauma to his face, head and arm.

At this point, the witness said Zarate ran behind his vehicle as it continued driving forward. It eventually came to rest around 180 feet from where the child was struck. Officials reported Zarate's 4-year-old child was in the backseat at the time. The Austin Police Department said he later drove back to where the incident occurred.

Police reported that the juvenile was taken to the hospital, where he died from his injuries around 6:04 p.m. Police initially responded to the incident at 5:38 p.m.

Officials said that the second juvenile reported that they had thrown feces on the suspect's doorstep and then fled on their bicycles. He reported that he heard Zarate yell something along the lines of, "You're going to die tonight you little s---!", before he began striking the other boy. He said the man punched the boy in the face before pushing him to the ground.

His was booked in the Travis County Jail on April 10 with a bond set at $5,000. He was later released on a surety bond.

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