Nicholas Colunga

Senior soccer player Doniak in critical condition

Texas soccer player Kylie Doniak is in critical condition after a hit-and-run accident in downtown Austin early Friday morning.

UT Athletics confirmed the pedestrian critically injured after the incident was Doniak and 22-year-old Nicholas Colunga, is currently in police custody on charges in connection to the incident. Witnesses reported Colunga hit a group of pedestrians, and alcohol is suspected to be involved.

Witnesses told the APD they saw Doniak and a group of pedestrians walking north in the crosswalk on San Jacinto crossing Eighth Street, when the driver of a Chevy Impala ran a red light. The car then struck three pedestrians, two women and a man, and left the scene said Austin police spokeswoman, Veneza Aguinaga. The other woman was treated at the scene and the man suffered non-life threatening injuries. Aguinaga said Doniak and the man were taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge.

A motorcyclist who saw the incident followed the driver for several blocks. The suspect eventually stopped, exited his car, and was then tackled by the motorcyclist. Police arrived soon after and detained him.

The driver, Colunga, faces charges of driving while intoxicated and failure to stop and render aid, Aguinaga said.

The court hearing for the man accused of injuring Kylie Doniak, communications senior and UT soccer player, was postponed for May 1 by Judge Clifford Brown on Wednesday.

The hearing was postponed in order to allow parties more time to review the case brought against Nicholas Colunga by the Travis County District Attorney, said Billy Pannel, the bailiff of the 147th District Court, which is overseen by Judge Brown. Pannell said the next set court date is May 1, although the hearing will not necessarily take place then — especially if the hearing is postponed once again.

Colunga allegedly collided with Doniak and two other pedestrians after running a red light at the intersection of Eighth Street and San Jacinto Boulevard February 3. He was taken into police custody that night after being pursued and apprehended by a witness and has remained in jail since then. Robert Mueller, Colunga’s attorney, represented him in court yesterday although Colunga did not appear. Mueller received permission from Judge Brown to postpone the hearing. Mueller could not be reached for comment.

Colunga is being accused of four separate offenses including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and failure to stop and render aid. He also had a previous count against him for parole violation, according to court documents.

Doniak is currently undergoing rehab at a hospital in California, according to an update posted by her sister on Doniak’s CaringBridge web page. Doniak has been recovering, although she still struggles with short term memory problems and recently had a feeding tube removed.

“Keep praying for us and Kylie because your prayers are evident every single day,” her sister, Alyssa Doniak, wrote on the blog. “We are continuously thanking God and all of our friends and family because it has only been 10 weeks (such a short amount of time in the big picture) and Kylie is already showing her personality.”

A court hearing will be held on Thursday for the man operating the vehicle that collided with and injured Kylie Doniak, UT student and soccer player.

Nicholas Colunga allegedly ran a red light, colliding with Doniak and two other pedestrians at the intersection of Eighth Street and San Jacinto Boulevard on Feb. 3. Colunga was apprehended by witness Sisto Perez, who pursued and tackled him after observing the accident. He was taken into police custody that night and has remained in jail since then.

According to court documents, Colunga is scheduled to appear at 9 a.m. on Thursday in the 147th Criminal District Court where Judge Clifford Brown will be presiding. He is under trial for four offenses including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and failure to stop and render aid.

Court clerk Jessica Garcia said Colunga will be represented by Robert Mueller on Thursday. Mueller could not be reached for comment.

UT athletics spokesman Thomas Dick said he could not release information about Doniak’s recovery because of privacy issues.

According to Doniak’s CaringBridge Web page, she is currently undergoing rehab in a hospital in California. An update posted on Saturday by her sister, Alyssa Doniak, reported that Kylie has had difficulty regaining her short-term memory and had a feeding tube removed last week.

“Thank you for the prayers and support and as always,” wrote Alyssa Doniak. “We love you all so much! We couldn’t do this without all of your help and of course without our faith. God’s still got this!”

Kylie Doniak, UT women’s soccer senior, was admitted to the Brackenridge Medical Center intensive care unit when a vehicle ran a red light and struck her and a group of pedestrians in downtown Austin.

The hit and run incident took place at 2 a.m. on Friday at the intersection of Eighth and San Jacinto streets. The suspect was taken into police custody after he was pursued and tackled by witness Sisto Perez.

Assistant sports information director Thomas Dick said he was unable to comment on Doniak’s current condition out of privacy concerns.

Perez was waiting at the red light when 22 year-old suspect Nicholas Colunga failed to stop and hit three people, including Kylie Doniak, while they were crossing the street, said Austin police department spokeswoman Veneza Aguinaga.

After failing to stop and provide aid to the injured pedestrians, Colunga drove away and Perez followed behind until Colunga crashed his car and exited the vehicle. Perez tackled Colunga and waited until police arrived to make the arrest. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Colunga was taken to the Travis County jail and is facing two counts of failure to stop and render aid and intoxication assault.

Alexander Hilliard, UT tennis player and friend of Doniak, said the accident was an extremely unfortunate event to happen in a place where so many students spend their time.

“We all walk on that same street,” Hilliard said. “The entire athletic community is banding together to support Kylie.”

Hilliard said the effort Perez made to stop Colunga from escaping was a heroic action.

“I think that guy deserves an award,” Hilliard said. “He’s an absolute hero and we need more people like that in society.”

According to statement released by women’s athletics director Chris Plonsky, the UT athletic department is very thankful for the wishes and thoughts from the community regarding Doniak’s situation.

“She is a beloved student athlete, not just here, but in the entire collegiate soccer community,” Plonsky said. “We appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers on her behalf.”