Zelibanos “Zelly” Sean Killed in Hit-and-Run on E Anderson Ln in Austin, TX
UPDATE (February 25, 2022): Reports have identified the Good Samaritan killed in this accident as 30-year-old Zelibanos “Zelly” Sean. Police have also identified 26-year-old Welmer Moises Aquina Lopez as the driver believed to have struck Zelly Sean and then fled the scene on foot. Lopez currently remains at large and police seek information on his whereabouts.
Austin, TX -- February 20, 2022, a pedestrian trying to help at a crash scene was killed by a vehicle in a hit-and-run on East Anderson Lane in north Austin.
Authorities say the incident happened around 4:00 a.m. on the 1000 block of East Anderson, the frontage road of U.S. Highway 183. Preliminary investigation suggests a single-vehicle accident occurred in the area and the hit-and-run victim stopped to help the driver injured in that wreck. He exited his car to help and a short time later he was struck by a third vehicle.
The Good Samaritan died at the scene. The driver that hit him reportedly abandoned his vehicle and fled the scene on foot.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Zelly Sean Accident on East Anderson Ln in Austin
UPDATE (April 27, 2022): Further investigative reports about this accident say police found open alcohol containers in the suspect's vehicle. They're not clear if he was apprehended, but considering they identified him I maintain if they haven't found him yet it's still only a matter of time. I recently learned about a hit-and-run suspect arrested a full year after the accident she caused because a stranger heard her bragging about it in a bar and called the police.
Authorities considered the open alcohol containers a good enough reason to suspect alcohol as a potential cause for the accident. I can't say if they're right or not at this point, obviously, but this would be far from the first case we've seen where alcohol consumption was behind a hit-and-run. That may raise additional questions about where the alcohol came from as a local business might have violated dram shop law. If so, that business may have a legal obligation to make what amends it can to the victim's family for the part it played in their devastating loss.
That's a domino to fall later, though, as obviously the main priority must still be finding the runaway driver. Whether a bar or store played silent "accomplice" to his crime, he still should face consequences for the damage he did. Any steps beyond that might depend on what investigators learn after he's caught.
UPDATE (February 25, 2022): Later publications about this accident portray it as a hit-and-run situation; we have modified our own narrative to reflect these new facts.
While it's terrible any time such an accident occurs and it's highly frustrating to learn the at-fault driver fled the scene, it seems likely to just be a matter of time before he is apprehended since authorities seem to know precisely who they're looking for. The smartest thing he could do would be to turn himself in, but many hit-and-run suspects aren't willing to do taht so perhaps one of his friends or acquaintances will do the right thing and tip off authorities instead.
Once he's in custody I hope police can learn something about precisely why he chose to flee the scene. Did he simply panic, or did he have something to hide? Many hit-and-run drivers take off because they know what it means if they're caught; they might have outstanding warrants, be carrying drugs or unlicensed weapons, or simply be driving drunk and run away because they aren't thinking straight. No one can say until the suspect is apprehended, but as long as police keep sharing information and the community stays vigilant I have hope they'll find their man and the victim's family can maybe get some kind of resolution after their terrible loss.
ORIGINAL: Pedestrian accidents like this one can be much more complex than people realize. It seems from descriptions that the pedestrian in this accident was likely not in a designated walking area, but that certainly didn't mean a driver was justified in hitting them. Like most collisions, it's important to consider all the incident's details and determine whether it could reasonably have been avoided.
Every driver has a legal duty to avoid any accident they reasonably can, no matter who may have the right-of-way at the time. That means if a driver acting in all ways as a reasonably prudent person would (hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, sober, etc) could arguably have seen and avoided the Good Samaritan, then the person who hit them may have done something wrong. However, that works both ways: If there truly was no time or room to react before the collision then it wouldn't be right to hold the driver accountable.
Reports don't suggest what police think about fault in this matter, and I'm not trying to put words in anyone's mouth or reach conclusions before evidence has been gathered. As with any accident, I just want to make sure that there's a full account of its circumstances and no fingers are hastily pointed. There are some lingering questions about what happened, and answering them is critical to ensuring the truth is found.
For instance: Where precisely was the victim in relation to the road? How long were they there before the striking vehicle arrived? Between streetlights, headlights, and their clothing, how visible were they? Are there even streetlights in the immediate area? Were the striking vehicle's headlights activated? Was the driver's attention fully on the road? If not, why not? Could or should anything else have been done to avoid the collision or reduce its damage?
To reiterate, I don't have inside information about this accident and I don't pretend to know more than police. Ultimately I'm only saying what I so often do: Even if preliminary reports seem fairly straightforward and paint a picture of a Good Samaritan in the road at a bad time, it's always best to carefully investigate all the possible factors in search of the whole truth. If there are other extenuating circumstances or parties whose contributions should be considered as well, that will only be learned by properly analyzing the accident.