San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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Police huddle around a 38-year-old San Marcos woman critically injured after being struck by a pickup truck downtown. Police have not identified the pedestrian or the driver charged with intoxication assault. NEWSTREAMZ PHOTO by MARK DECKER

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UPDATE | 12:40 p.m., Feb. 2

The couple struck by a pickup truck on the courthouse square early this morning remain in intensive care at an Austin hospital, the city’s spokesperson said today.

Priscilla Torres, 38, and her husband Johnny Torres, 34, of 304 Picasso Drive darted into Hopkins Street shortly after the bars closed at midnight.They were struck by a GMC pickup truck driven by Steven L. Mazac, 24, who is charged with intoxication assault, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison.

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By BRAD ROLLINS
Managing Editor

A pedestrian was critically injured early Saturday morning when she was struck by a vehicle on Hopkins Street as downtown bars were closing just after midnight.

A 38-year-old woman, a San Marcos resident, was darting across the street with a group toward their parked car when she was hit by an eastbound GMC pickup truck, police Sgt. Wade Parham said. She and a 34-year-old man who appeared to suffer less serious injuries were taken by ambulance to Brakenridge Hospital in Austin, Parham said.

The truck’s driver, a 24-year-old San Marcos resident, was arrested and charged with intoxication assault, Parham said. He declined to identify the suspect or victims but said their names would likely be released later today.

Even though the woman did not have the right-of-way to cross the street, the driver is substantially responsible because he was intoxicated and driving faster than the 30 mph speed limit, Parham said. He did not yet know the results of a blood-alcohol test.

“He is still at fault for the accident. [The jaywalking] will be a contributing factor but him being drunk and speeding is the much more egregious behavior,” Parham said.

After being struck and dragged by the truck a short distance, the woman remained in the street attended by onlookers and then police until ambulances arrived, witnesses said. Several onlookers who did not see the actual incident said there had been a fight and the woman was pushed into traffic. “Not true,” Parham said.

Police cordoned off the square and, after the injured were removed, marked debris in the street including a purse with yellow paint. By 1:20 a.m., Guadalupe Street and LBJ Drive had been partially reopened but Hopkins Street was still closed.

The accident happened as scores of bar goers poured into the streets after the close of Friday night business in the bar- and club-lined courthouse square. After the crowd began to clear as investigators scurried around taking pictures, someone asked a police officer if the woman is expected to survive. The cop shook his head no.

brad@newstreamz.com

ABOVE: A San Marcos police officer administers a field sobriety test to the 25-year-old suspect now charged with causing the accident while driving drunk. NEWSTREAMZ PHOTO by BRAD ROLLINS

CORRECTION: This article originally said the truck’s driver was 25. He is 24.

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30 thoughts on “UPDATE: Couple remains in intensive care after being struck by pickup

  1. There are cops all over the Square at night and they allow people to drive drunk. If the San Marcos Police Department would DO THEIR JOB and arrest every selfish asshole who drives drunk, this would not have happened.

    If the adults who go to the bars would act like adults and have a designated river, or use the new taxi service, or walk, or use SWAT, or have a sober friend pick them up, this would not have happened.

    The police who stand outside the bars every night could have prevented this woman from being hurt. If she dies, the San Marcos Police department has blood on their hands too.

  2. I think while this is a sad case, the police still need to consider that the area is lined with bars, the driver in question is of legal age, and the two persons who were hit were jaywalking in the area. I hope they both make it through this trauma, but the only offense the driver has been charged with is going ‘over the 30 mile an hour speed limit’. How do they know how fast the driver was going and had it been the driver behind him instead of him, would that person be facing the same charges? This is not an incident that needs to focus on the hazards of ‘driving intoxicated;’ this needs to be a reminder to everyone walking on foot to obey traffic laws too in order to prevent situations like this one.

  3. It was just awful and sad. I know people who comment will want to keep in mind that someone(s) was seriously injured. These things are sensitive because they sometimes take on more meaning than the incident itself. It’s also worth noting there is a whole lot to know about the situation and there are usually as many versions as there were people present.

    If it’s true Mr. and Mrs. Torres darted into traffic from between two parked cars, I do not see myself how the police are at fault whatsoever. People have to assume ultimate responsibility for what happens to them. I don’t want police put in a position of being blamed for not protecting people from themselves.

    That is not however a comment in any way on whether the driver should be charged or what he should be charged with.

  4. By the way, our completely unenforceable comment policy is that people use their real first and last name. Please at least use your first name and last initial or first initial and last name.

  5. My thoughts and prayers are with the injured couple and with the young man driving. How terrible for both sides. I don’t think we should point fingers. There will be plenty of time and lawyers to do that. I would like to raise the question: Is downtown pedestrian friendly?

  6. I do agree that the police need to do more with the drunk driving around town, but she shouldn’t have been jay walking. My boyfriend works late nights on the square, and I have gone to pick him up completely SOBER and came with in inches of hitting a bunch of drunken morons prancing around in the street. People need to take responsibility for their actions, and pay attention to their surroundings.

  7. Although I do agree that people who choose to drink in downtown S.M; or anywhere else for that matter, need to be more responsible, I don’t think the police department needs to take on a position where they are circling like hawks around downtown just to catch people. If so they need to start writing Jay-walking tickets also as many many people dart across traffic all the time. This is a college town and people in college do contribute a great deal to our economy. Imagine San Marcos with out Texas State…not much here…
    This is a very sad situation and I hope the best for the couple, but before people jump to conclusions on the fault all aspects need to be addressed!

  8. As a student of Texas State I have seen the San Marcos police not do their jobs on several occasions.
    Especially when it comes to drunken college students.
    The only reason this guy was caught was because he hurt someone.
    If Mr. and Mrs. Torres were intoxicated then they should also be charged with public intoxication.
    It really saddens me that I pay taxes for a police force that is so ignorant.

  9. Well, to many folks, young and old, drive after going to a bar. This is the responsibility of adults, and though a serious accident occured, I don’t want government to take over too much of my freedoms.

    A solution would be to barricade the walk-ways from the bars, so pedestrians CAN NOT jaywalk, the other would be for the bars to be somewhat more responsible and ask whom is driving.

    The police, though inept, are probably doing the best they can. If they begin to question anyone going towards a vehicle, the university could step in, and also what about unwarranted stops/searches? It seems a never ending vicious cycle of drunk bar attendees…

  10. In my opinion, I believe the City of San Marcos should close up the square just like Austin does with 6th street. There are far too many irresponsible people driving and walking in the square and accidents are prone to happen.

  11. I think that the traffic lights on the square, and maybe even a block away, should should be flashing red in all directions after dark. This would definitely keep the speed of traffic down in that area and make crossing the street a little easier for pedestrians. This area will remain dangerous to foot traffic unless something is done. There are just too many distractions for drivers and there are many drivers who are racing to beat the traffic lights. I pray that Johnny and Priscilla can fully recover and that no on else must suffer this sort of tragedy.

  12. Reading the above comments leads me to believe that we have all missed the real tragedy that is unfolding here. On one side, we have a married couple clinging to life and facing even bigger physical and finacial obstacles if they manage to pull through. On the other hand, we have a young man who is wishing time would take him back to that moment before the accident so he could do things differnt. Besides the guilt, he will face very serious charges and fine which will probably cripple him leagally and financially. It is unfortunate that in the moments when we are at our highest, we are also at our weakest. We should ask ourselves, how close have I been to beeing on either side of this tragedy. Remember then these poor unfortunate ones who have stumbled and may never recover. Stay Alert! Look Both Ways! Slow Down! Don’t Drink and Drive!!!

  13. Have any of you considered that the young man was going just a few mph over the speed limit? The speed limit is 30 mph on the square, he was going about 34. And a few beers does not constitute “highly intoxicated”.

    Could it be that this young man was just going home and these people ran out into the street in front of him? Because he had a few beers, he is now a big bad ugly and grossly at fault.

    I don’t think so. The police do what they can, but the biggest help would be the bars. Isn’t there a law that says the bars and/or the bartenders cut off a customer when they KNOW they have had too much to drink? And shouldn’t the bars refuse to serve those they can tell are bar hopping? Or would that take away too much of their profit?

    I’m sorry the Torre’s are injured. I haved prayed for them every day since this happened for their recovery. I also have prayed for this young man, who because he couldn’t stop in time, is now hurting deeply inside.

  14. I would like to start by expressing my condolences to the Torres family, I am truly sorry for what has happened.
    I would also like for everyone out there to know what a good person my brother is. He is a hard working, kind hearted, spirited individual, who under different circumstances, wouldn’t hurt a fly. He made a poor choice that evening and he’s dealing with that in his own heart and soul. But the fact is, my family and I are behind him 100% of the way and I wish for people to realize that he is not the monster that the media has portrayed him to be.

  15. I wish Mr. and Mrs. Torres the best as they recover. I can relate to what the family must be going through right now, as my younger brother was killed in a pedestrian-car accident. I think it is important to refrain from judging in situations like this one. Lets not forget that this was an accident. As much as I sympathize with the victims and their families, I also sympathize with Mr. Mazac. I can only imagine the guilt and the regret this young man is dealing with. I wish everyone involved in this tragic situation the best of luck. I hope a lesson is learned, and forgiveness is found.

  16. I feel terrible for the Torres family, and will keep them in my prayers. Steven also deserves all our prayers, because he is a wonderful person–one of the best–and he’s not completely at fault. This is just one of those horrible accidents that might have been prevented if EVERYONE involved had been a little more careful.

  17. I think this is not a crime of any type but an accident. As we are all humans we have all had accidents. Theses tings do happen in life. It is tragic for both sides to be going through this but its not like any one person set out to hurt someone or get hurt.
    Carelessness played a lot of part in the person who got hit. I mean what is ever kid taught growing up. “Look both ways before you cross the street.” I mean that is like imprinted in your head all our life. Was she intoxicated enough to just for get to look both ways. Public Intoxication is a crime and she has no charges because she was hurt? I dont agree with that.
    The driver is getting looked at as he did something wrong on purpose or out of negligence on his part. He was not wasted. He was not incapable of driving over a few beers.

    How many of you people have ever been driving and hit some type of animal deer, rabbit, even a cat, or dog? Dont most people say “It just darted out in front of me.” Well there is noting different from that, other than this was a person that darted out in front of a moving truck.

    Come on people if you have ever been to the square then you will know that its not like there is never traffic there, Its always there Why wouldnt you look Both ways before walking in to a street that is always busy.
    I dont see any reason for anyone to have any charges pressed for either side. It was an accident based on negligence of a pedestrian for walking in to the street. The driver was not doing anything wrong, but driving home. There is no one on this earth that can look at a car and say it was speeding. And I dont think anyone clocked him going faster than the posted speed, Did they?

    So is this going to be some media freenzy and someones woe is me story cause I got hurt. Or is this going to be grown adults that say I messed up walked in to traffic and the kids insurance should cover something and Life goes on.

    But hey this is just my look on that take it for what you will.

    Best wishes to both sides for having to deal with an accident like this.

  18. One other thing did something like this happen in Austin with in the last month or so. It was a cop or city official of some type hit some that darted in to traffic. Just thought I would bring that in to the conversations. I know that there is a lot of different things between two different accidents but there is also a lot the same. I dont know what really happened in the other case I just remember hearing about it.

  19. I would just like to let the Torres family to know that their family is in my prayers and I wish the best for them.

    Though it is sad that these people were hit and are in critical condition, it needs to be realized that they WERE jaywalking. Not only that, however, it’s stated that they “darted” across the street to get to their parked car. Considering it was after the bars had closed down, I think it’s a safe assumption to say they too had been drinking which could easily have altered their judgment, ultimately making it seem as if the truck was farther away than it actually was. Aside from that, we need to realize that if we were in this same situation, SOBER, we probably would have done the same thing. After all, driving down the road at 34 miles per hour and someone “darts” in front of us, it’s going to awfully hard to stop in time.

    Also, he’s being criticized for going 34 mph in a 30 mph zone. Do police even pull people over and give them tickets for a 4 mph difference? I can honestly say I’ve never been pulled over for something that small, so I highly doubt this difference should be looked at so excessively.

    Yes, it’s very sad and unfortunate that these people are in the hospital and in critical condition, however, people need to take a step back and look at the whole situation.

  20. Wow! Yes, its really sad and unfortunate what took place on that night downtown. But lets face it. Take responsibility for your own actions. Oh ya, I forgot, that isn’t possible anymore. But really, if that couple hadn’t darted out ILLEGALLY into traffic than we wouldn’t be having this conversation. So everyone out there blaming downtown and the police and everyone else but the person in the mirror, grow up!!! Stop looking for someone else to blame for your hangups. Sometimes bad things happen and no one is to blame but bad judgment and bad luck. Stop!!!!

  21. I have been keeping the Torres family in our prayers that they make it through these hard times and recover quickly. I have also been keeping Steven Mazac in our prayers too. I have known Steven for many years and he is one of the sweetest guys I know and I know that he is just devestated with the situation at hand. I understand that Steven is being put at fault for the accident beacuase he was under the influence and driving (which I am against), but the couple that walked out in to the street, not in a crosswalk mind you, with the traffic having the right of way were under the influence as well and about to commit the exact same “crime” that Mr. Mazac was “commiting”. This incident could have happened to ANYBODY, even a sober driver. There have been plenty of times that I have been driving downtown san marcos (completley sober), night and day, and people just walk out in the street like they own it. Pedestrians need to realize that a car can’t stop on a dime, speeding or not, and the only thing thats going to get hurt is them. I believe that if they are going to hold a driver accountable for something that wasn’t 100% their fault then they need to hold the other party accountable also. What good does having a San Marcos police deputy/Sheriff patroling downtown if they aren’t going to enforce the laws on EVERYONE! Jay-walking is a common law which is broken but noone is ever cited for this “crime”. Again, I am so sorry that this incident occurred it’s trajic and I hope the Torres couple make it through and live long healthy lives.

  22. Prayers go out to the Torres family. I’ve known Steven for a long time, this is truly a tragic cituation. Steven is a very hardworking, good-hearted man. This could have happened to anyone, including a sober driver. Love you Steven!! Prayers go out to you!

  23. First of all I want all you white people to look at it this way, if it was a white person who got hit by a black or mexican man yall all would be putting the blame on the person who hit them. So no I belive the person who drinks and drives is all at fault, Because if he would of been sober and not trying to pass the traffic signal nothing like this would happen.

  24. I hope that the Torres family will be ok. But I, myself, have known Steven since I was 15. He is a very nice guy, he never tried to cause trouble. Hes big hearted and wouldn’t have ever wanted to hurt anyone for any reason. I know that the Torres family is having a hard time right now, but If there is anything i can do to help steven i am all for it. I wish steven the best and my family and i are praying for him. Steven you will be fine!!!! We love you!

  25. First I want to wish the Torres family a speedy recovery and hope they pull through. My thoughts and prayers are with both families.

    I have known Steven Mazac and his family for most of my life (about fifteen years). I am behind Steven and his family NO MATTER WHAT. Steven is one of the sweetest guys and he doesn’t deserve to be judged by anyone but the man upstairs.

    To all of you out there who don’t know him and want to see him behind bars, think about if he was your brother or your son. I understand we are all accountable for our actions, but pointing the finger of blame will not change the situation.
    I hope everyone has learned something from this tragedy.
    To Steven and his family, I love you guys. If there is anything we can do please let us know.

  26. This is my son.

    We haven’t heard any more on the Torres family. I pray they continue to heal. No one ever wants anyone to be hurt. Most of all my son. He is all torn up inside because he hurt these two people. He has started counseling to help him deal with this.

    I have concerns with this accident and the charges. There is fault on both sides. Stevens for driving under the influence of alcohol. The Torres’ for crossing mid-street. Steven didn’t hunt them down, he didn’t aim for them, he couldn’t stop in time. That is an accident.

    In Austin on Saturday, 2-9-08, a pedestrian was hit and killed by a truck whose driver admitted also to drinking. The man killed walked into the feeder road and was hit. The officer on the scene said it was an accident and no charges will be filed. But the driver submitted to a blood test and the officer said if it came back legally drunk, then a DWI would be filed against the driver.

    This accident is very similar to Stevens except for the fatality. Why are the charges so very different?

    Also our insurance company says the only “at fault” here is the driving under the influence. If Steven was in his lane, the light was green, the couple crossing in mid street, then he can’t see why there were charges filed.

    I also want to know why the bars haven’t been looked at. Aren’t they suppose to cut people off or refuse to serve them if they are drunk. I know that puts my son in that category but I feel that that is the main issue.

    Also, are the people going from their cars to bars to more bars and back to their cars too much for the patrol to handle? If so, then beef up the man power. And issue citations. Both to the bars and to the patrons. Neither may like it but if it gets the point across that we all should be more responsible, then maybe accidents like this won’t happen again.

    You can’t use this accident as a means to an end. You can’t hold one person liable for all that are at fault. You can’t destroy one person just to cover your ass.

  27. I agree that we desperately need more enforcement. How many people need to be hit on the square and how many houses knocked off their foundations before we take this issue seriously? I shudder to think of how many people are driving home drunk on any given night.

    There is plenty of blame to go around here and it is good to hear that your son sounds like he is taking responsibility for his part.

    If more people did the same, we might not need more enforcement. Unfortunately, at the moment, it appears that we still do.

  28. Of course, my thoughts are with all those involved in this horrible accident.
    However, after reading through these comments on the subject, I see why drunk driving is such a problem here, other than the obvious. You think it’s okay to drive after you have had “only a few beers”?? No! ONE is too many. I don’t care how high your tolerance is, one is too many. When will people ever learn that it’s not just them they are hurting when they act stupid? If you are driving intoxicated, (and just one beer, is intoxicated) or if you are irresponsibly walking intoxicated, your giving the finger to anybody else on the roads with you. If you don’t have a friend that cares enough to be the designated driver, to make sure everybody gets home safe, then you need to re-evaluate your friendships, cause you don’t have any real friends. We need to learn to think about one another once in awhile, even strangers.

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