• December 28, 2021

Uriel Veloz Killed in Auto-Pedestrian Accident on North I-35 in Austin, TX

UPDATE (January 7, 2022): Authorities identified the victim as 24-year-old Uriel Veloz. Police say they're looking for a silver 2013-15 Nissan Pathfinder in connection with the accident.

Austin, TX -- December 23, 2021, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing North Interstate 35 late Thursday night.

Authorities say the incident happened around 10:45 p.m. in the area of 13800 North I-35 northbound near Parmer Lane. Preliminary investigation suggests that the victim was attempting to cross the road on foot when they were struck and killed by a northbound vehicle in the travel lanes. Reports indicate the driver did not remain at the scene after the collision.

Emergency responders found the pedestrian dead in the roadway.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Uriel Veloz Pedestrian Accident on I-35 in Austin

UPDATE (February 3, 2022): Further investigative reports about this accident say the victim exited a vehicle after arguing with his mother and ran away on foot. It was as he ran south on the left northbound shoulder that he was struck by the hit-and-run vehicle.

Police also suspect the victim was intoxicated at the time. Some may not see how that's a particularly important detail, but it can make things more complex than folks realize. Running along a freeway is typically dangerous for pedestrians, so if that decision was made during a period of poor judgment caused by impairment then whoever provided the means for that impairment may be responsible for the damage done. Texas dram shop law says an alcohol provider may be liable if they over-serve someone and that customer causes or suffers injuries while under the influence. When that happens, the provider may have a legal duty to help the victim's family during a difficult time.

Again, impairment is currently only a theory and I'm not saying I know more than police. They may have their hands full while pursuing the hit-and-run vehicle, and of course that driver should answer for fleeing the scene and leaving a man to die. It's important to hold all responsible parties accountable, however, which means a local business might also deserve to face consequences for the part it played.

Uriel Veloz pedestrian accident austin tx

ORIGINAL: When a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle on a busy thruway like an interstate, I notice many people essentially write the crash off and blame the victim for being there at all. It's true that the interstate is a dangerous place to be on foot, but the law is far more complex than a simple declaration about "who's allowed where."

When assessing a collision like this, prudent investigators also consider how ultimately avoidable it was. Put simply, all drivers have an obligation to avoid any accident they can even if the law says they have the right-of-way. If a reasonably prudent driver doing everything they're supposed to (hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, traveling the speed limit, etc) couldn't have avoided a collision, then it wouldn't be fair to blame them. However, if it's discovered through careful analysis that they could have avoided hitting a pedestrian--regardless of who took precedent on the road--then it must be determined why they didn't do so.

That's not meant as an accusation against either party. Ultimately I'm only trying to say that this incident, like most crashes, isn't as simple as it might appear on the surface. Further investigation is needed to determine where exactly both parties were in the road, where they came from, what they were doing, how visible the pedestrian was, how fast the vehicle was traveling, and whether or not the accident could have been avoided with reasonable care. Even if reported facts seem relatively clear, it's important to consider all possibilities to get the victim's loved ones the answers and help they deserve.

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