San Marcos Police have arrested two women and charged them with felonies after investigators tracked down the suspects in two unrelated hit-and-runs that left one man dead and three others injured, two seriously, over the weekend.
Jennifer McKernan, 21, was charged with felony failure to stop and render aid, following a fatal hit-and-run in the 500 block of Wonder World Drive early Monday that claimed the life of a New Braunfels man. She was released from the Hays County Law Enforcement Center under bond of $10,000.
Police also have charged Tiffany Danielle Dahl, 25, in a separate hit-and-run that occurred early Sunday in downtown San Marcos, leaving three people injured, two seriously.
Dahl was charged with three felony counts of failure to stop and render aid and two counts of intoxication assault (a third degree felony). Dahl remains in jail under $75,000 bond on the five charges.
Just before 3 a.m. Monday, San Marcos Police Officer Jason Scott found the body of Ricardo Rodriguez, 37, of New Braunfels while patrolling in the ramp area of the south access road to the Wonder World Drive railroad overpass.
After an intense investigation and search, police located and arrested Jennifer McKernan of San Marcos and charged her with the felony.
Following the discovery of the victim, officers searched the area and found debris from a red vehicle, including several large pieces with parts numbers on them. Investigators matched the debris to a Nissan Versa, according to Sgt. Brandon Winkenwerder.
Members of the Collision Investigation Team worked through the night and learned the victim was walking on the right side of the roadway, attempting to cross the Wonder World overpass. He was struck before reaching the overpass and the impact caused him to slide into the access road.
Officer Kassondra Raven was patrolling several apartment complexes on Wonder World when her vehicle ran over several pieces of plastic debris near an apartment complex. She got out to investigate and found that the debris was consistent with what had been left behind by the suspect’s vehicle. She contacted collision investigators and began searching through the complex.
Officer Raven located a damaged vehicle which was traced to McKernan. Investigators linked the debris to the damaged car. Police charged McKernan after connecting her movements around 1 a.m. Sunday and the damage to her vehicle to the fatality.
In the second incident, on Sunday, Sept. 2, just before 2 a.m., emergency units responded to an auto-pedestrian collision at Hopkins Street 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 IH-35 and Wonder World Drive. After linking the vehicle and driver to the hit-and-run downtown, police charged Tiffany Danielle Dahl with three counts of failure to stop and render aid and two counts of intoxication assault.
“The police department would like to remind pedestrians and drivers to look out for one another in the downtown area, especially in the late night and early morning hours,” said Sgt. Winkenwerder. “There is 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.”