Man charged after a mother killed in hit-and-run crash

HCSO: Driver turned himself in to authorities

Published On: Jan 02 2014 04:56:17 AM CST   Updated On: Jan 02 2014 07:54:18 PM CST

An alleged hit-and-run driver, who investigators say killed a mother of two, has been charged after turning himself in.

Erik Garza, 28, is charged with failure to stop and render aid. Harris Co Sheriff's investigators say around 8 p.m. Wednesday, he struck and killed Karen Perez who was walking across the street in the 15200 block of Woodforest at Onaleigh.

Her 25-year-old son, who had just crossed the street in front of her, watched in horror.

"He's not so good. He's not good at all," Perez's niece, Megan Ward, said about the victim's son. "He's kind of inconsolable. He's angry. He doesn't understand any of this."

Witnesses told deputies the truck appeared to speed up shortly before hitting Perez. Her body was thrown more than 300 feet from the point of impact. The truck didn't stop.

But accident investigators found one of the four-door Dodge pickup truck's license plates near Perez's body.

The driver, Garza, turned himself in at the Wallisville substation about 10 hours later.

Perez and her son had just left the home of Monica and Howard Ellison where they stopped to wish the couple a Happy New Year.

"I said, 'Be careful. Y'all want us to walk y'all across the street?'" Monica Ellison said as she fought back tears. "'No, she said, we'll be fine.' And she got run over like a dog."

The Ellison's and other residents say speeders and reckless drivers are a big problem along that stretch of Woodforest Blvd., and that there have been at least two other traffic fatalities in the last year.