AUSTIN (KXAN) — Police are still searching for the driver of a truck who hit and killed 3-year-old Ethan Hernandez Maldonado Sunday afternoon.
Like most children, Ethan was playful. But he only got to be a kid for three short years before his life was taken.
“He was the youngest,” says Ethan’s father Carlos Hernandez, as he fights back tears.
Hernandez says they were on their way to the store Sunday night when a truck hit Ethan.
“The light turned red, and the walking signal turned for us to cross. Then my kid ran across, the pickup didn’t yield and hit my kid and dragged him underneath,” explains Hernandez.
Police say the boy was walking in the crosswalk heading west across Cameron Rd., south of Briarcliff Blvd., when he was hit. Investigators say a passerby stopped and picked up Ethan and his dad, and when Ethan stopped breathing they pulled over and started CPR. EMS came and took over, but Ethan passed at the hospital a short time later.
Neighbors say the intersection where the boy was hit, is dangerous.
“We see people run these red lights all the time,” says Doyle Chapman, who owns a car dealership at Cameron and Briarcliff.
Doyle says he’s seen more crashes since the city got rid of two driving lanes, and added bike lanes.
“There’s a lot of wrecks here and a lot at the other intersection,” says Chapman.
For Carlos and his family, Sunday’s wreck is one they’ll never forget.
“He was only three years old, he was about to turn four in August,” says Hernandez.
Originally officers said Ethan was 4-years-old, but the Travis County Medical Examiner said Ethan would have turned four Aug. 20.
Ethan’s family hopes their son’s precious smile motivates someone to come forward, to help find the driver who took their son.
The suspect vehicle is described as an older white and tan Chevy Silverado with a ladder in the back of the cargo bed.
Austin City Council member Greg Casar, who represents District 4 where Ethan was hit, says the area is home to some of the most dangerous intersections in Austin.
“I was devastated to learn of the death of three-year-old Ethan Hernandez Maldonado, who was a pedestrian on Cameron Road in Windsor Park yesterday,” says Casar in an email.
Casar says during last year’s budget cycle, Austin City Council allocated funding to the five most dangerous intersections—several of those were in District 4 or next to District 4. He says council will continue investing in those areas in the upcoming budget.
Casar says he will be supporting a bond election in November to improve pedestrian infrastructure. He also says he will meet with nearby neighbors this week, to discuss improvements in the area.
This is the second pedestrian fatality involving a child in less than a month.