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Hit-and-run suspect, who allegedly looked at victim before leaving, indicted for murder

A suspect has been booked into jail after police said he hit a pedestrian at an Austin intersection and killed him before driving off.

AUSTIN — A grand jury has indicted a man for murder after he allegedly drove over a curb before hitting and killing a victim who was standing at a bus stop in South Austin.

The incident was reported on Aug. 1. The grand jury indicted Darrell Smitty, 52, for murder, manslaughter and intoxication manslaughter, according to court documents filed on Oct. 25. His bond is set at $500,000.

Smitty was booked in the Travis County Jail the day after the fatal crash and is still in police custody as of Thursday afternoon. Police released a mugshot of Smitty from a 2016 arrest.

Credit: APD
52-year-old Darrell Smitty.

According to an arrest affidavit, Smitty had an expired license and his driving record showed three active suspensions.

Austin police said the crash happened at the intersection of South First Street and Ben White Boulevard just before 8 a.m. on Aug. 1. Officials said a 2005 white GMC Sierra truck was in the far right turn lane while a Capital Metro bus was on its left side at a red light. Austin police said for some reason when the light turned green, the white truck didn't turn right and accelerated at a high rate of speed. Police said as the bus was stopped at the intersection, the white GMC drove over the curb and drove down the sidewalk. Police said the truck then hit the man. After hitting the pedestrian, Smitty hit a trash can before stopping and exiting the vehicle to inspect his truck for damage, police said.

The pedestrian was found with major head trauma. He was later identified as Ernesto Garcia, 40.

"The driver then was approached by a couple of witnesses that told him he hit somebody. The driver walked back to the scene, looked at the scene where he struck the subject, walked back to his truck, got in his truck and then left the scene," said Austin Police Corporal Chad Martinka.

Police release photos of suspect and vehicle in hit-and-run.

The pedestrian died shortly after authorities arrived. Corporal Martinka said it's possible the victim, in this case, was waiting for the bus when he was hit and killed by the truck.

"Unfortunately, the pedestrian -- there's not much they can do," he said. "We do tell people to try and be more cognizant and always look around. But unfortunately ... sometimes there's nothing you can do when a situation like this happens."

After police released photos to the media of the driver and the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run, two anonymous witnesses came forward and identified the man in the video as Smitty, the affidavit states.