Police: Texas driver who hit pedestrian left body in car, went to bar

AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN/CNN) - Police said a drunken driver hit a pedestrian and kept on driving with the man’s body inside the car.

The 24-year-old driver, Paul Joseph Garcia Jr., was arrested after the incident on Saturday.

Police identified the victim as 55-year-old Lee Martin Cagle.

Garcia left his car and with it, the body of the person they say he hit.

“It’s a human being. So there’s that. It’s rough,” said David Pearce, co-owner of South Austin Beer Garden.

Police said Garcia struck someone trying to cross the street with a shopping cart. The body went through the windshield and landed in the passenger seat.

Surveillance video, minutes later, shows Garcia stumble into the South Austin Beer Garden.

“He was in tears. He was distraught, in a panic state. You could see he had tears in his eyes and he looked like he was running from something,” Pearce said.

Police arrested him shortly after. Records show it’s Garcia’s second driving while intoxicated charge.

“There are more pedestrians around here than you would realize,” Shelly Weiser, owner of The Hive, a nearby coffee shop and daycare.

Speeding is a problem on the road, she said, and she believes a growing number of bars in the area is leading to more drinking and driving.

“I wasn’t surprised, it was very sad. But just sort of, you know, par for the course, something that’s just surprising for this area anymore,” Weiser said.

She and other business owners want this to be a lesson - be safe behind the wheel.

“Friend, family, any of us. It’s rough, you know, to lose somebody. So, prayers to their family,” Pearce said.

Garcia faces charges of intoxication manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid.

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