AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man was charged over four years after a hit-and-run crash killed a pedestrian in east Austin, according to court records from Nov. 17.
An arrest affidavit stated Matthew Sears, 34, faces a second-degree accident involving death charge in a crash that occurred Oct. 10, 2018 at the intersection of East Cesar Chavez and Elkhart streets. The Austin Police Department confirmed he was arrested.
In the early morning hours that day, Austin police officers responded to the crash and found a man in the roadway who had been hit by a white SUV, the affidavit said. Police identified the man at the time as Jonathan Deleon, 29.
The SUV’s driver drove away without checking on Deleon. He was taken to the hospital, where he died in the emergency room due to his injuries.
Video footage from nearby businesses caught the SUV driving away but no exact license plate number could be seen, the affidavit said. Officers noted in the affidavit the SUV would have damage to its front right from hitting the man, as well as the front left bumper from hitting a vehicle while fleeing.
In April 2019, officers followed up with an anonymous tip that said Sears drives a white Toyota Highlander and was the driver of the SUV that hit the pedestrian in October 2018. Officers looked at Sears’ SUV and saw “the damage on the vehicle was consistent with the night of the crash,” the affidavit said.
Police talked with Sears afterward, who said the vehicle was his but said he didn’t know of the crash nor where the damage on his SUV came from, the affidavit stated.
Another tip from a witness in August 2019 mentioned a passenger was in the car with Sears when the crash happened. The affidavit said officers spoke with the passenger, and when officers mentioned the crash, the passenger “became evasive and guarded.”
The affidavit said police got a search warrant for Sears’ Google account, which showed its location history had been deleted on April 17, 2019, the day after officers spoke with him.
Officers also searched the passenger’s Google data, which showed searches for “austin tx police reports” and “austin, texas hit and run” were done on the date of the crash. In the month after the crash, “numerous searches” were done on the passenger’s account related to hit-and-runs.