San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

September 4th, 2012
Pedestrian killed, three injured in weekend hit-and-runs

by BRAD ROLLINS

A man was killed and three other injured in two unrelated early morning hit-and-runs over Labor Day weekend.

McKernan

Jennifer McKernan, 21, is charged with failure to stop and render aid after she allegedly ran over 37-year-old Ricardo Rodriguez as he walked along Wonder World Drive near the railroad overpass early Monday. She was released from the Hays County jail under a $10,000 bond.

Tiffany Danielle Dahl, 25, faces five felony charges stemming from another hit-and-run early Sunday in downtown San Marcos that left three injured, two of them seriously. Dahl remains in jail under $75,000 in bail.

Wonder World hit-and-run

In the first incident, San Marcos police officer Jason Scott found Rodriguez’s body while on regular patrol just before 3 a.m. Sept. 3.

The police department’s collision investigation team found debris from a red Nissan Versa, including large pieces of the cars with parts numbers imprinted on them.

Dahl

Later that morning, officer Kassondra Raven was patrolling nearby apartment complexes when she ran over debris in the parking lot. A closer look determined that the litter could have come from the suspect vehicle and McKernan’s damaged vehicle was located not far away.

McKernan was arrested after police said the linked debris found at the site of Rodriguez’s death to the suspect’s wrecked car.

Downtown hit-and-run

About 24 hours earlier, emergency units responded to an auto-pedestrian collision at Hopkins and LBJ Drive in downtown San Marcos. The driver of the vehicle fled.

Two men were found lying on Hopkins Street with traumatic injuries. The men, ages 29 and 26, were transported to Brackenridge Hospital in Austin with head and chest injuries. A 28-year old woman suffered leg injuries and was treated and released.

Witnesses gave police a description of a blue 1990s model Chevy pickup with a broken windshield driven by a blond female.

Officer David Amerson stopped a matching vehicle at Interstate 35 and Wonder World Drive. After linking the vehicle and driver to the hit and run downtown, police charged Tiffany Dahl with three counts of failure to stop and render aid and two counts of intoxication assault.

Pedestrian safety

The police department is urging both drivers and pedestrians to be careful, especially when traveling at late night in high-traffic areas such as downtown.

“There is a significant pedestrian traffic downtown during those hours and drivers need to be looking out for pedestrians. Likewise, pedestrians need to be looking out for vehicles and following the proper safety precautions,” Sgt. Brandon Winkenwerder said.

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20 thoughts on “Pedestrian killed, three injured in weekend hit-and-runs

  1. All McKernan is charged with is failure to stop and render aid? The man died. Seems like she could have – and probably should have – been charged with something more serious.

  2. How was McKernan not charged with vehicular manslaughter? Was she not under the influence at the time of the accident?

  3. MDavis, she was apprehended the following day. She probably chugged a lot of water and shed crocodile tears all night. Sickening, but in this situation, assuming she was intoxicated at the time of collision, hiding worked in her favor.

  4. I don’t believe vehicular manslaughter charges are contigent upon intoxication. Any sort of negligent driving that results in a death can be considered vehicular manslaughter.

  5. From what I understand the man that was hit and killed was crossing where it wasn’t permitted. This would legally put the blame on him.

  6. Check the law there is no vehicular manslaughter in Texas. If the DA wants to prove something else they will have to do it. The police charge what they can prove at the time the offending person is caught. It also seems there is a time delay and she was not caught driving. The other one was caught still driving.

  7. I dont give a shit what anyone is saying right now bitch should have fucking stopped an helped him! He could still be alive right now an possibly not have been charged with shit if she would have now our family has to live without him…god bless you primo rest in peace…we love you!

  8. Why is it than ONLY pedestrians need to be… “following the proper safety precautions”? Do not drivers need to similarly/likewise “follow the proper safety precautions”? I mean, can a pedestrian kill a car or can a car kill a pedestrian?

    Same with bicyclists. With no bike lanes to speak of, should drivers not also be encouraged to watch out for bicyclists? Can a bicyclist kill a car or can a car kill a bicyclist?

    I have learned that with students back and all the construction, bicyclists are everywhere. We are taught, when turning right, to look to the left to determine whether the coast is clear in order to avoid a collision. Now I know I need to look to the right as well because there may well be a bicyclist turning the same direction as I am on a street or sidewalk area under renovation or construction. I don’t think we are taught to do so. I wasn’t.

  9. The gentleman who was killed may have been difficult to see in the dark. When I walk at night, I always use a $3 blinking red bike light so I’m easily visible to drivers. Cheapest life insurance policy ever.

    But that in no way excuses the hit-and-run driver, who of course should have stopped and rendered aid. I have to assume more serious charges will be forthcoming. A man died because she hit him and then fled, and with her car breaking apart as a result, she surely can’t plead ignorance. And shame on the people she called — I’d bet money she phoned someone that night — who did not immediately call 911 to get that man help.

  10. According to the Hays County Public Records – she was arrested for a Third Degree Felony. It is listed –
    ACC INVOL SBI/DEATH-F3 ( SMPD 12-63845). Accident involving serious body injury or death. It doesn’t list anything about leaving the scene. It also looks like she was arrested in March 2012 for DWI. It is my understanding that after the investigation, the police can charge her with something else if they choose. Please learn from both of these accidents – DO NOT DRIVE DRUNK. DO NOT DRIVE BUZZED.

  11. The article tells drivers to watch out also. I have been downtown when people cross when they aren’t suppose to. They are right it is a free for all downtown at night espically Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

  12. I think they are simply saying watch out for your safety. I work for a company with lots of safety training and you are always taught that you are responsible for your own safety. No one is looking out for you but you. Sorry just a fact of life.

  13. Those drunk students will run right out in front of you at night. Drivers do need to be aware of them jumping out from between cars and crossing where they are not allowed. Everyone needs to be careful out there at night.

  14. Total bullshit tht the lady who killed tht man only got charged with tht one case only in san marcos can a white women get away w killing a mexican if it were the other way around i knw the charges wld have been more extreme

  15. I love the Monday morning quarterback. Everyone knows everything and can blame it on whatever they think they know. We don’t know all the circumstances and why things happen the way they do. She ran and got caught some run and never get caught.

  16. Rick, I only knew u a few months bro, but u didn’t deserve this. I’m hurting like I lost a brother. I can’t believe this. It feels so unreal. Rachel, u know Judy there anytime u need her. R.I.P rick

  17. Reading these articles and all these comments just seems to me the police need to set up some road side stop and check points (is that allowed in the US) at stratigic sites unannounced one weekend and have a blitz on law breaking drivers… hit the bad eggs where it hurts, fines, bans and criminal records – have zero tollerance towards no insurance, drink driving and unroad worthy vechiles! It send the right message – don’t drink and drive here, don’t break the law here – for you will pay. Better to be pro-active than reactive.

  18. Overseas: I assume from your name that you are unfamiliar with the our Bill of Rights. It is the first 10 amendments to this thing called the Constitution that we used to rely on to govern ourselves over here. #4 of these amendments prevents (or it is supposed to prevent) the state from doing things like bothering us while we are going about our daily business unless we have given them probable cause that we are doing something wrong.

    And while the courts have said that the state has the right to do things like random road sobriety road checks – good job there, judicial branch – it seems to a few of us (too few, I am afraid) such safety measures are but a short step away giving the state the green light for more intrusive things like random house-by-house searches to look for potential drug-users, terrorists, or whatever else the person in charge of such dragnets happens to think needs to be caught. We all know that if everyone gets searched, you will uncover something illegal. The question is where does it stop? Who know, perhaps someday it might be simply holding the wrong political viewpoint and daring to speak it to the wrong person. Perhaps (hopefully) I am being an alarmist, but I’d rather not take that chance.

  19. @ Overseas and Keith C, there have been attempts in the state of TX to pass legislation that would allow for sobriety checkpoints. But the voters of this state won’t allow it. It exists in other states. I used to live in South Carolina and they have sobriety check points in pivotal locations whenever they choose. And they choose a lot. They put them in frequently traveled and strategic locations and apprehend a lot of drunken drivers as well as others who are either fugitives or driving without a license, mostly at night. I cannot say that I am a proponent of it (it feels pretty invasive to be stopped like that) but with the soaring number of vehicular homicides in San Marcos it wouldn’t hurt. They still haven’t caught the driver who killed that poor pregnant girl last fall on the feeder road by Long John Silver and I’d be willing to bet they were drunk.

    Regarding Ms. McKerman, surely the prosecutors will do some in-depth investigating by subpoena of her financial records and obtain proof of where she was drinking on the night she ran over this poor man. If they gather enough intel on that it would seem they may be able to prove by going to the bars and interviewing those who served her and that she was drinking with that she was drunk at the time. And then by correlating those details with the time of her departure and the time of the accident they have a case for more than she is currently charged with. My goodness, if she hit him hard enough to leave a trail of debris in TWO locations there is NO WAY she could not have known she hit someone. In Austin and San Marcos there are too many people getting away with this very crime.

    My condolences to Mr. Rodriguez’s family and friends. This should never have happened. I do not know anyone involved but it makes me very sad, and sickened, nonetheless.

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