Recent hit-and-run crashes cause concern for San Antonio police

Two of the four hit-and-run crashes were fatal, police say

SAN ANTONIO – Over the past week, there have been at least four hit-and-runs in the San Antonio area, and police say these types of crashes are harder to investigate with less evidence and fewer witnesses.

On Saturday night, police say a man in a Toyota Tacoma was driving on I-37 when a Ford F-150 hit him and drove off. Fortunately, the man driving the Tacoma will be OK.

That same night, a man was hit by a vehicle while walking along Enrique Barrera Parkway and SW 41st Streer. The car drove off and, the man is in critical condition.

On Sunday evening, a woman died after being struck by a vehicle while walking across the street on the city’s South Side.

The crashes are concerning for everyone, including the San Antonio Police Department, as officers say these crashes are difficult to investigate.

“I mean, we just couldn’t handle it at the time. We just broke down,” said Raul Castillo following the loss of his son, Orlando, after a car hit him.

The pain of losing a loved one is unimaginable. For some, it’s even harder when the person responsible doesn’t stop to help.

“I mean, I can’t hold a grudge against her, against them, because it is a bad location. It’s just the leaving the scene is what breaks everyone’s heart,” said Michael Patula at a vigil honoring his sister, Emerald.

Both Castillo and Patula recently lost family members after they were hit by vehicles. In Castillo’s son’s case, the driver stopped to help, but the driver didn’t stop in Patula’s sister’s case.

“What would you have wanted somebody to do for your family or would you want somebody to do for yourself?” Sgt. James Reyna with the San Antonio Police Department asked. “And sometimes those seconds of just rendering aid or calling 911 can make the difference in somebody’s life.”

Hit-and-runs over recent weeks are concerning for Reyna, who’s spent years in the traffic division.

“You’re limited in witnesses. You’re limited in video,” Reyna said.

When investigating a hit-and-run crash, whether it’s between vehicles or involving a pedestrian, Reyna says he approaches it like it’s his own family.

“Hitting the streets, going door-to-door, looking for video, looking for witnesses,” Reyna said. “Canvassing the area, just turning over all the rocks that you can.”

According to data provided by the department, fatalities are up this year.

There were 183 this year compared to 138 this time last year, but SAPD says these numbers aren’t separated by type of fatality.

Reyna reminds drivers if they hit someone, they should stop immediately.

When it comes to pedestrian safety, Reyna says cross only on crosswalks, stay in well-lit areas, ditch the dark-colored clothing and use the flashlight on your phone.

About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.