DPS looking for driver after deadly hit-and-run near COTA

Travis County

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The Texas Department of Public Safety is looking for a driver after a fatal hit and run near Circuit of the Americas on Sunday.

According to DPS, 36-year-old Martin Friedrich Ross, of Mountain View, California, was walking across FM 812 from COTA when he was struck by a vehicle that left the scene, according to the initial investigation from the Department of Public Safety. DPS believes Ross was attending the Formula One race at the Austin track.

DPS said they are looking for a blue or teal colored Ford F150 connected to the hit-and-run.

The Ford pick-up truck, possibly a King Ranch edition, was traveling eastbound on FM 812 and will have front-end and hood damage with a missing Ford F150 King Ranch emblem, DPS says.

The incident happened just after 6:30 p.m. on FM 812. STAR Flight also responded to the scene.

A Travis County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson told KXAN that off-duty deputies were working Formula 1 all weekend at COTA and it helped them respond to the scene quickly.

FM 812 was closed at SH 130 because of the crash and traffic was being detoured.

Neighbors living near the racetrack said this has been a worry for years. They question why more safety improvements haven’t been made after a different deadly crash about a mile west of COTA back in July.

In that accident, one man was killed and a teenager was sent to the hospital.

“When we have events, it gets pretty hectic,” said Edgar Martinez, who has lived near COTA for 19 years. “I hope that nothing like this ever happens again.”

Martinez said part of the reason for the issues is that the street infrastructure isn’t prepared to handle the influx of people.

In 2018, more than 263,000 people attended the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix all weekend.

Martinez said the roads aren’t wide enough to handle that kind of traffic, people will walk on the shoulder after paying for private parking and there’s not enough lighting.

When parking sells out, some drivers turn to property owners along FM 812 to open up their land for parking.

If a shuttle isn’t offered, the people have to walk close to a mile to get to COTA. The road is one lane in each direction with a shoulder on both sides.

For concerts at the Austin 360 amphitheater, COTA’s parking lots are open and located along Circuit of the America’s Boulevard, making the walk a lot shorter.

“It’s a big event, they should take the proper precautions to handle it,” Martinez said.

Despite repeated attempts to reach COTA to see if there were any safety improvements being discussed, KXAN still hasn’t heard from them.

DPS urges anyone with information regarding this incident to call Crime Stoppers at 512-472-8477.

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