AUSTIN (KXAN) — A pedestrian is dead after being hit by a car late Saturday night on Research Boulevard in north Austin. It happened around 11:30 p.m. at the Payton Gin Road intersection.

Crashes like that are happening more often, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Just this past August, a tragedy struck the Circle C neighborhood in southwest Austin.

Sandra K. Nielsen and her husband were on a walk on Aug. 17 when she was struck by a hit-and-run driver while crossing the street.

“Every day they walked on our street, and it’s so sad. We’ve known them for 18 years,” said Cathy Dougherty, a friend of Nielsen.

Neighbors said some drivers have slowed down a bit since the crash, but still they notice reckless driving.

“As a pedestrian, I have to really watch out, because I just don’t trust the drivers anymore,” said Christine Blackburn, another friend of Nielsen.

According to TxDOT, pedestrian traffic deaths were up 15% in 2021. In Austin, there were 435 traffic crashes involving pedestrians. Sixty-one of them were fatal.

It’s a number Nielsen’s neighborhood hopes to bring down with signs in honor of her.

sign in Circle C neighborhood that reads slow down for sandy
Neighbors said proceeds from purchasing a “Slow Down for Sandy” sign go directly to Sandra Nielsen’s family. (KXAN Photo/Sarah Al-Shaikh)

“Slow down if you ever hit somebody. Get out and help them. You’re gonna be scared, help them,” said John Blackburn, another of Nielsen’s friends.

Weston Holtz, 18, is charged with accident involving death, a second-degree felony, in connection to the hit-and-run. According to the Austin Police Department, he turned himself in at the Travis County Jail two weeks after the crash.