AUSTIN (KXAN) — An east Austin family is putting out an urgent plea to the driver who hit and killed a man Tuesday night.
Austin police identified the man as 45-year-old Mark Morales. The hit-and-run happened around 8:40 p.m. near the intersection of Chicon and Willow streets. Police say Morales was critically injured when he was struck by a pickup truck that then left the scene. He later died at the hospital.
Morales’ niece, Nicole Guerra, says her uncle spent the night at home with family handing out Halloween candy to trick-or-treaters.
“They ordered pizza and my family was thirsty and it was just one of those things, he just walked to the store. And it was raining, but he didn’t care, if he could help, he was going to help,” Guerra said.
On his walk back, Morales was hit. He was only about 100 feet from home.
“His legs were broken, his pelvis was broken, he didn’t deserve that,” Guerra said.
A woman who lives nearby in the neighborhood found Morales and stayed on scene with him until medics arrived, Guerra said. Now they are looking for some closure by urging the driver who fled the scene to come forward.
“Everyone is scared of the law, I understand that, but at the end of the day you have to go to sleep at night, you know you did this to a person, to somebody’s family,” she said.
Friends describe Morales as a jokester and a very loyal man.
“He was just a real good guy, funny lovable, he made everybody laugh,” said Jesse Martinez, who grew up with Morales. “This person didn’t stop, they just kept going and you know you did something wrong, you just took somebody’s life.”
Now, Martinez and Guerra have a message for other drivers in their neighborhood: slow down and pay attention.
“On all the streets here, they all zoom by all the time, they don’t even stop for stop signs,” Martinez said. “People just don’t obey. I think they do whatever they want to do, and if you can’t stop that well who can?”
Martinez also has a message to the driver who didn’t stop. “Turn yourself in, don’t be a coward. You just took somebody’s life.”
Morales’ family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with unexpected funeral costs.
Austin police say the suspects vehicle is described as an older model, blue Ford extended cab pickup truck with possible front-end damage. If you have any information related to this case, call Austin police.