Toddler hit, killed in south Austin parking lot identified

An investigator looks at the front of a truck after it hit a child at Southpark Meadows. (KXAN/Erin Cargile)
An investigator looks at the front of a truck after it hit a child at Southpark Meadows. (KXAN/Erin Cargile)

AUSTIN, (KXAN) — A 2-year-old girl who died after being hit by a truck in the parking lot of a busy south Austin shopping center Sunday has been identified by the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office as Amarie Macias.

Austin police say the girl was with her family at the Southpark Meadows shopping center when she darted out in the parking lot around 7 p.m. A driver in a pick-up truck hit the girl but he told police he did not realize he struck the child until several witnesses flagged him down and told him to stop.

Macias was transported to the hospital but died a short time later. Police say the driver has been cooperative and is “devastated.”

Crash brings up deeper rooted concerns about pedestrian safety at Southpark Meadows

The death of 2-year-old Amarie Faith Macias is considered a tragic accident. No charges have been filed against the driver after the toddler ran in front of a truck in Southpark Meadows, but the crash highlights safety concerns for pedestrians many viewers shared they already have.

Tom Dale has spent enough time at the shopping complex to know the dangers posed to pedestrians. “It’s obviously a design flaw, in my mind,” Dale said, pointing to parking spaces that line the strip of shop from Bath and Body Works to Marshall’s, including the area in from of the Spirit Halloween pop up store where Macias was hit. “Whether I’m parked in the front trying to back out or if I’m actually just walking through the cars itself, you can’t see anything. I mean you literally can’t.”

Dale calls the toddler’s death tragic. Sad. Unfortunate. But not shocking. “I wasn’t surprised,” he said. “I’ve came inches from getting hit. Inches. Within inches of getting hit. More than once.”

When a crash happens on a public road, Austin’s Transportation Department typically surveys the scene to determine if additional safety measures could help improve the area. “There’s no crosswalks here. There’s one speed bump that’s small. That doesn’t slow anybody down,” Dale said.

Because Southpark Meadows is a private development, the city says any additional speed bumps, crosswalks or signage is up to the property owners. “Obviously Southpark Meadows needs to do something or put something else in place to make it a safer experience for their customers,” he said.

KXAN reached out to Southpark Meadows management to learn if any additional safety measures are being considered, but we have not yet heard back.

In July, a 1-year-old Eli Cervantes was hit and killed while walking through a North Austin Walmart parking lot. A 40-year-old driver tried to make a wide turn to park correctly when she hit Eli. According to a crash report, when the child ran out in front of the female driver, she did not feel she hit anything and drove over the child. When the child’s mother began banging on the driver’s window, the driver stopped and then reversed over Eli.

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