• May 16, 2022

Simon Velez Killed by Vehicle on US-183 near US-290 in Austin, TX

UPDATE (May 18, 2022): Reports have identified the victim of this accident as 36-year-old Simon Juan Velez. Later investigation strongly indicates the crash was a hit-and-run, as vehicle debris was found near Velez's body but no vehicles remained at the scene.

Austin, TX -- May 15, 2022, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle off southbound U.S. Highway 183 in northeast Austin.

Authorities say the incident happened Sunday afternoon on southbound Anderson Lane (US-183 feeder) between Interstate 35 and Route 290. The exact circumstances of the accident aren't known but reports say the victim's body was found by the roadway and responders pronounced them dead at the scene.

The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Simon Velez Accident on US-183 in Austin

UPDATE (May 18, 2022): If investigators are right that this was a fatal hit-and-run, obviously it's quite frustrating to see yet another person leave someone they hurt behind.

So why'd they run? Only finding them could say for certain, but many drivers flee the scene for just a handful of reasons--simple panic, sometimes, but more often to hide something from investigators. Drug possession, suspended or missing licenses, active warrants, and drunk driving are among the most common things they'd prefer to keep to themselves, so they take off. If other illegal activity occurred on top of failing to stop and render aid, that only makes it more critical to find the driver and hold them accountable.

If police continue to release any details and developments they find, hopefully someone (a friend, relative, coworker, or even a total stranger) will come forward with useful information to help them locate a suspect. It may take some time, but I'm confident that if everyone works together and remains vigilant a bad actor can be found and some answers can be had.

Simon Velez Killed by Vehicle on US-183 near US-290 in Austin, TX

ORIGINAL: Some people tend to write off accidents like this as the victim's fault as it can be very risky to walk on a busy highway. The common feeling is that pedestrians shouldn't be in roads unless there's a crosswalk, but the law is more nuanced and situational than that. For instance, much of determining fault for an accident like the one in Austin is about learning whether it was avoidable.

I'm not saying the driver necessarily did anything wrong. There's every chance that further investigation would show they couldn't realistically have avoided the victim. I'm only saying that this incident needs more answers to properly understand it. Exactly where was the pedestrian in relation to the road? How long were they there before the vehicle came along? Where were they beforehand? Are visibility and sightlines okay on that stretch of road? Did anything prevent the driver from noticing the victim or vice versa? Would a reasonably prudent person have done everything the same way the driver did?

Every crash deserves careful and thorough investigation to ensure the whole truth is found. Even if further analysis just confirms preliminary reports, the victim's loved ones deserve to know that every effort was made to find all the facts. If there are any other steps to take, knowing that would largely depend on what those facts turn out to be.

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