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Lack of Sidewalks Concern Harlingen Residents after Crash

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HARLINGEN – Family members identified a 19-year-old killed in a Harlingen hit-and-run. They said he died a block away from home.

The crash happened early Sunday morning. Four teens were walking home along New Hampshire Street, after playing basketball at a nearby park. A vehicle struck the four teens, killing Eden Arriaga.

A man claiming to be the driver turned himself in to police Monday afternoon. The driver is expected to be charged with one count of accident involving death and three counts of accident involving serious bodily injury.

Police said they aren’t sure if the teens were walking on the street or on the curb. According to Arriaga’s family, they were walking from Arroyo Park.

There is currently no continuous sidewalk on either side of the street in the area, and city officials said it’ll stay that way for a while.

Orange marks on Martha Garza’s driveway are a grim reminder of the fatal scene.

“We woke up because we heard a young man talking and talking, and crying,” she said.

Harlingen police said the teens, aged 16 to 19, were struck by a truck near the intersection of New Hampshire and Cottonwood Drive. The driver fled the scene.

Arriaga was killed; he was home for the weekend from the University of Houston-Victoria visiting his parents.

Family members said Arriaga and his friends went to play basketball at the park. They walked there but there are no sidewalks.

“People do walk around here, but when they do they have to walk on that side of the street, on the grass. When there are no cars coming, they’ll cross over to that side – that’s also dangerous,” Garza said.

The city of Harlingen identified the area is need of sidewalks, according to assistant city manager Carlos Sanchez.

However, the construction isn’t happening any time soon.

Sanchez said it’s a matter of funding. Currently, the city is spending a $500,000 grant on 2.1 miles of sidewalk throughout the city. No funds have been secured for building sidewalks down New Hampshire Street, Sanchez added, and there’s also no time frame for such project.

Police said they’re working to figure out how the teens were positioned on the street or curb as they walked home. There is surveillance video, but a spokesman said it didn’t capture the moment the teens were hit.

The assistant city manager said no residents in the area have filed any paperwork asking for speed bumps or a traffic light.

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