Questions surround accident that claimed life of Montgomery man

Wilfred Tyrone Austin (Source: Family)
Wilfred Tyrone Austin (Source: Family)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The family of a Montgomery man who was struck and killed by car is seeking answers as they mourn his death this Christmas.

Members of the community came together Thursday night to honor the life of 48-year-old Wilfred Tyrone Austin. Those at the vigil say he was call "Unc" by many, which was short for uncle, and was loved by those who knew him.

On Saturday, patrol officers and paramedics responded to the 2600 block of Drake Street -- a West Montgomery neighborhood not far from Mobile Highway -- in reference to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle.

Austin suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead on the scene.

Montgomery police have released few details on the case.

On Monday morning, officials said "patrol and medics responded to the 2600 Block of Drake Street on a Hit and Run" and the case is "being worked as a death investigation," but later that day, they issued a press release calling it a "traffic fatality."

Police said the driver of the vehicle that struck Austin, whose identity hasn't been released, was not facing charges.

Lt. Regina Duckett, spokeswoman for the Montgomery Police Department, told the WSFA newsroom this week that the deadly crash was ruled an accident.

"That accident is still under investigation and I do not have any additional details at this point," she said in response to a request for information.

Wilfred Austin's mother says she found out on the news that the driver of the car that struck and killed her son had been questioned and let go.

She paints a different picture of what happened that night.

"He was ran over. He was on his way home. Some men in the area were shooting back and forth at each other and the car they were shooting at was speeding and it ran over him and knocked him up in the air," she said in an interview. "The driver did not stop. He continued on."

Austin's family members said they weren't celebrating Christmas this year due to their loss. They feel as though they've been left in the dark during the investigation.

"I want to see that driver face criminal charges. I don't know what's going on. It's really, really rough, especially since my son was helping take care of me. He didn't deserve to die like that," Austin's mother added. "I want justice. I can't let it go. I have to try."

Wilfred Austin's relatives said they have not yet made funeral arrangements because they're waiting for an autopsy to be completed by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.

The fatal incident was Montgomery's 20th traffic fatality for 2013.

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