AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department said it was still looking for the driver who hit Ian Lewis on Interstate 35 in August and drove off.
Police said the 24-year-old father was on the shoulder of the highway when it happened. Lewis’ girlfriend Michelle Jackson said they had just gotten rear-ended and pulled over.
This happened just before 1 a.m. on Saturday, August 27 on the upper deck of I-35 between 38th and 39th Streets.
“He was just getting insurance information when he got hit by a semi,” she said.
APD said they’re actively working on the case but have no leads.
Jackson said she was with Lewis the night the crash happened.
“He’s gone, and I can’t even put the pieces back together,” she said, pleading for the driver to turn themselves in. “You just destroyed a family.”
APD asked anyone with information to contact the Austin Police Department at 512-974-TIPS.
Lewis’ family said they were hoping for some closure before Christmas.
“The holidays are hard,” said his sister-in-law.
The holidays will also be hard for the loved ones of Patrick Morin, a tow truck operator who troopers say was hit and killed while securing a car onto his tow truck in Mills County.
Geoff Nienstedt, who’s on the board of directors for Texas’ Southwest Tow Operators, said he hopes Morin’s case is a reminder for drivers to follow the “Move Over Law” when they see crews on the side of the road.
“The law tells drivers to either slow down to no more than 20 mph under the posted speed limit or vacate to the next lane,” he said.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said that only applies to first responders, road crews and tow truck drivers, so there’s no law that would have required the semi-truck that hit Lewis on I-35 in Austin to switch lanes.
“I’d like to think the Move Over Law applies to everybody,” said Nienstedt. “I mean, look, if someone is broke down on the side of the road, give them the space they need to do what they need to do as well.”
Lewis’ family agreed. And as they wait for an arrest in Lewis’ death, they have nothing to do but plead for the driver responsible to turn themselves in.
APD offered the following safety tips regarding highway accidents.
- Call 9-1-1.
- Locate a well-lit area to stop, when possible stop away from traffic.
- If you have to exit, exit on the side furthest from the road.
- Watch for traffic when exiting.
- Stay alert and vigilant at all times, both inside and outside your vehicle.
- Make sure you are visible by wearing brightly colored clothes during the day. At night, we recommend wearing reflective materials or to use a flashlight if you have to step out of your vehicle.