AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police say they have identified a person of interest in a case where a pickup truck ran into a woman as she was walking in a south Austin Walmart gas station parking lot a few weeks ago. The Austin Police Department confirms the suspect vehicle has been impounded and taken to an APD impound lot.
“We do have a person of interest identified. It’s an ongoing investigation and that’s all the details we can provide,” Austin police said Thursday.
According to impound records, KXAN uncovered a dark green, diesel Dodge pickup was towed from McCallum High School and taken to APD’s impound lot around 1:17 p.m. Wednesday. The license plate on the impounded truck comes back to two individuals, one of whom is an Austin ISD police officer.
A spokesperson for the school district says a school resource officer at McCallum has been placed on administrative leave. KXAN is not identifying the officer because he has not been charged or identified as the driver at the time of the incident.
Surveillance video captured the crash around 2 a.m. Friday, Feb. 9 in the Walmart parking lot in the 700 block of East Ben White Boulevard near Interstate 35. It shows a dark green, diesel Dodge pickup pull up to a pump. Less than 30 seconds later it turns into the parking lot and a woman wearing a hoodie steps in front of the camera. The truck slammed into her and didn’t stop, police say.
Another person with a backpack ran to the woman’s aid.
The victim’s family says the person who was hit is 46-year-old Michele Gonzales. Gonzales remains in ICU at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center. Her family expects a long road of recovery ahead for her, they have started a fundraising page for her.
“She can’t talk, because she’s got a [tracheostomy] because her lung was partially damaged,” explained Deanne Gonzales, Michele’s sister.
Michele has not been able to communicate with her family about what happened, she is struggling to write at this point too, Deanne said.
Deanne explained that her sister is homeless and has friends who live in the area where she was hit by the truck. Michelle’s family said she doesn’t have a job and they worry about how she’ll be able to take care of her medical needs in the long term.
Deanne said she was heartened to hear that APD has found leads in this case.
“I don’t know what else to say, whoever called [the tip] in just thank you,” she said. “Hopefully this leads to justice for my sister.”
Deanne added that someone helped her sister at the gas station after she was hit. The family doesn’t know who that person is but would like the opportunity to thank them.
Police say the truck has a lift kit, oversized wheels and a front brush guard.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the APD Leaving the Scene Unit at 512-974-5789 or Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS or text “Tip 103” + your message to CRIMES.