A Houston grandfather is dead after a tow truck driver sped off with the man still straddling his repossessed vehicle on Thursday, Houston police officials said.
Oscar Harrison, 33, is charged with failure to stop and render aid to 68-year-old Alberto Nduli, who tried to stop the repo man from taking his SUV.
Nduli’s sister-in-law told the Houston Chronicle a neighbor had knocked on the family’s door that morning to alert the Congolese native that a wrecker was attempting to tow their truck. Patricia Malewo said her brother-in-law thought it was a mistake, seeing as his car was in its assigned space at their apartment complex.
Nduli rushed outside to confront the driver in an attempt to keep him from taking his vehicle. He apparently jumped on the SUV after it was attached to the wrecker.
His actions did little to stop Harrison, however, who floored it and continued speeding down the street. Nduli was thrown from the rig, causing him to fall and hit his head on the concrete. He died from his injuries.
According to police Capt. K. J. Deese, Harrison dropped the vehicle off at a lot and returned to the scene hours later, where he was arrested by police. The driver now faces 20 years behind bars if convicted of the charges.
“He left the scene by his own admission,” said Assistant District Attorney Sean Teare. “He knew there was an altercation, he knew the owner of the vehicle was there, was involved in a crash.”
“Whether or not he knew that individual lost his life really is immaterial as to whether or not there’s a failure to stop and render aid charge,” he added.
Relatives said Nduli leaves behind seven children and several grandchildren. He has lived in the U.S for two decades since emigrating from the Congo.
According to family members, Nduli had actually paid off the car, but then took out a title loan. The loans are fairly predatory and have high interest rates, making it easy for borrowers to fall behind on payments.
“It’s emotional,” Malewo told the Chronicle of her brother-in-law. “You’re sleeping (next to) someone and they go outside to talk with a worker. Now, (he’s dead) forever.”
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