AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) — A man and woman are both behind bars accused of hitting a group of bicyclists in southeast Austin Saturday morning.
Austin police say the crash happened around 7:30 a.m. at South Pleasant Valley Road and Elmont Drive. A witness told police, as he was sitting at a traffic light, he saw a white Buick strike several bicyclists. According to an arrest affidavit, 25-year-old Devin Rodriguez told police he hit four bicyclists because he had “fallen asleep.” The affidavit also stated that the scattering of injured people and bike parts spread over three blocks.
Kimberlee Anderson, one of the people injured explained that the group of six cyclists had embarked on an 83-mile ride.
“It’s really a miracle we are still here,” she said.
According to court records, when the crash happened, a witness said he jumped out of his Jeep and went to tend to the injured bicyclists. As he was doing so, he saw the driver of the Buick get out of the car and walk over to a woman, later identified as 32-year-old Amanda Florez, and hand her something. The witness said that’s when he saw the woman jump into his Jeep and drive away.
The witness said he ran after his Jeep and managed to catch up to it as a responding officer made it to the scene. Florez was charged with felony theft of property, violation of city ordinances and possession of a controlled substance. Authorities found crystal methamphetamine in her bra during an inspection.
Police discovered Rodriguez was driving the Buick with a suspended license and no insurance.
The injured bicyclists were taken to the hospital with various injuries; one had bleeding inside of her brain.
As of Monday afternoon, two of the cyclists from this crash remained at Dell Seton Medical Center. Terrance Lockett was listed in good condition and his wife Jeanette was listed in fair condition.
Wendy Meyer was the fourth cyclist hit, she explained that the impact forced her on top of the car. Meyer said that Rodriguez continued to drive across the intersection, then parked the car and ran toward the Jeep, not acknowledging her. Meyer said she saw Florez on scene and noted it was suspicious that Florez sped off in the Jeep shortly after Rodrguez went to speak with her.
“[Meyer was] on top of the car, and he continues to drive another hundred feet with her on top of the car, and there were so many witnesses standing around there,” said Kimberlee Anderson who watched as Meyer was hit. “I think he was trying to get away then he realized she was on top of the car so he stopped.”
Meyer and Anderson both want the people responsible for this crash charged with at least vehicular assault, they say there need to be strong consequences to deter other people from causing so much harm.
“We thought about this, there was nothing we could have done to avoid this– zero. All the conditions were right, it was quiet, there was plenty of space to go around, we were safe, we had lights on,” Meyer explained.
“This crash illustrates the need for protected bike lanes, especially on major streets like Pleasant Valley Road, to keep everyone out of each other’s way, and out of harm’s way.” said Mercedes Feris, executive director of Bike Austin.
“Moreover, while we understand that the investigation is still under way, we are concerned that the driver was only issued a ticket for driving with an invalid license. When reckless driving is a contributing factor in a crash, more serious charges should be leveled.”