Driver who allegedly struck pedestrian arrested and charged
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The driver of a truck involved in a car crash in Vaitogi two weeks ago is now in custody after he was arrested by police from his home in Faleniu, two days after the incident.
Romeo Ah San is charged with one count of 2nd degree assault, a class D felony, along with one count of reckless driving and accidents involving death or personal injuries, both class A misdemeanors.
Bail is set at $10,000.
On Jan. 11, 2022 around 2:06 p.m, a vehicle overtook another vehicle heading southbound on the Vaitogi public highway. The driver lost control of the vehicle and veered to the left side of the road, and struck a pedestrian, tossing him approximately 16 feet from the point of impact.
As the vehicle continued, it weaved off of the road near a hedge and crashed into a cement wall near a dirt road in the Vaitogi area. The driver of the vehicle immediately exited the vehicle after the impact, along with an unknown passenger. Both were seen fleeing into the bushes on the east side of Vaitogi.
Officers who responded to the call were able to interview a few people who were at the area during the alleged incident.
The victim was transported to the LBJ Medical Hospital for treatment due to his severe injuries.
The driver of the other vehicle told investigators that the vehicle involved in the incident was behind his vehicle, and skidded and went off of the left side of the road, where it hit an old man that was standing on the left side of the road cleaning rubbish.
Out of control, the vehicle hit the wall near the backdoor of his house. After the driver hit the wall, the witness saw the driver — who appeared to be skinny, with dark skin and about 5 ft 5 inches tall with an Afro, and wearing a red shirt — hop out of the car. The individual ran off heading east to hide.
Investigators contacted the owner of the vehicle involved in the alleged incident where he gave a written statement at the TPS. He told police that on Jan. 11, his mechanic friend, Romeo Ah San from Faleniu, was working on his truck, and later asked to use his truck to go to pick up a friend in Faleniu. He agreed, and handed him his truck keys. Ah San left around 1:45p.m.
After an hour, the truck owner told investigators that he tried calling his mechanic’s cell phone but it kept going to voicemail.
It was around 2:40p.m that one of his friends called him to see if he was okay because he saw his truck (that looked totaled) being towed and taken to the TPS — that is when he found out his mechanic had gotten into a car accident and fled the scene.
Investigators were briefed by the doctor who examined the victim when he arrived at the LBJ hospital and according to the doctor, the victim suffered a puncture wound and a torn nerve on the back of his right knee, generated from a penetration impact from the vehicle, which caused his right leg to be paralyzed from knee to his toe.
The doctor further stated to investigators that the victim will be held in the hospital for a while or even a year, due to his severe injuries and he would undergo several surgeries throughout his time in the hospital in order to fully recover.
Investigators were able to interview the passenger who was in the truck before the car accident. According to the passenger’s statement to investigators, Ah San came over to his house to pick him up to go help him out at his mechanic shop in Vaitogi.
As they entered the Vaitogi public highway heading southbound, Ah San started to speed up, and carelessly overtook another vehicle on the left side of the road. Their vehicle then lost control and went off to the left side of the road and struck the pedestrian near the hedge. As their vehicle continued, it swerved off the left side of the road, and crashed into a cement wall.
He and Ah San hopped out of the vehicle and he was trying to get to the old man that hit by their car, but Ah San called him to leave the area instead. They ran away from the accident heading into the bush.
Two days after the alleged car crash, Jan. 13, the defendant’s mother called the TPS to report that her son (defendant) was sleeping at their house in Faleniu.
Investigators responded to the call and met up with the defendant’s mother, who showed them the location where the defendant was sleeping. Investigators apprehended the defendant and immediately explained to him the reason why he was under arrest.
During an interview, the defendant admitted to the allegation, saying that he went to Faleniu on that day to pick up his cousin to help him out with his mechanic job in Vaitogi.