GENEVA COUNTY, AL (WDHN) – According to Samson police, a group of friends were having a few drinks and enjoying the night with friends when the good time turned into panic.
What was supposed to be a late night run to the store ended in tragedy.
Just before midnight, a dispatch call to police to a residence on East Lee Street began to paint a very different picture. A Samson man had been severely injured.
“He was still breathing at the time and at the point we really weren’t sure what had happened of course we got the rescue squad they got him to the hospital,” said Samson Police Chief Jimmy Hill.
The victim, Manuel Caal, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
His body was sent to the Department of Forensic Science for further analysis.
A police investigation was initiated, revealing a man who is an illegal immigrant in the U.S. was making a quick run to the store, not realizing Caal was sitting on the back of the vehicle.
“The gentleman was sitting on the back of the van and the offender got in there and backed over him. And when he backed over him and pulled over he went back across his body,” said Chief Hill.
The driver Rolando Tuil was initially charged with manslaughter which was downgraded to a lesser charge of leaving the scene of an accident causing death or serious physical injury.
“It was determined through the investigation and a witness that it was accidental,” said Chief Hill.
Tuil is an illegal immigrant who is believed to have not been in the U.S. for long.
“I did get some papers back on him. He was wearing an ankle bracelet we did receive some information from immigration,” said Chief Hill.
Many of the witnesses were also from Guatemala which caused a language barrier with law enforcement.
“My interpreters were having trouble getting information where we could figure out what happened,” said Chief Hill.
Samson Police Chief Jimmy hill says they are still working determine the exact facts surrounding the incident.
“We processed everything, the vehicle was processed thoroughly put on a rack. You know if he is find guilty he will serve his time here and then immigration will make a determination at that point,” said Chief Hill.
Rolando Tuil will have a hearing in Montgomery in October on his immigration status.