Suspect in fatal hit-and-run case unknown: Papali'i

No one has stepped forward to claim responsibility for the hit-and-run accident that claimed the life of an 18-year-old boy at Vaitele fou last month.

Deputy Police Commissioner Papali’i Monalisa Tiai-Keti told the Samoa Observer on Monday that the Police made a public appeal last week for the suspect to step forward, but to date there has been no progress on the case.

“The investigation is underway by statements giving in by the public, but as of last week we have issued an announcement for the driver to step forward and confess, because till now no leads have been found by the Ministry on the incident so far,” she said, when giving an update on the rise in traffic accidents since January this year.

Tuuau Faasavalu or Ituau, as he is known to his friends and family, was found lying on the side of the road at the Vaitele Maali Street in the early hours of Wednesday, April 21 and was declared dead on arrival by health officials at the Tupua Tamasese National Hospital at Moto’otua.

The deceased, who was a university student, was laid to rest last Saturday. 

Fatalities include that of a 13-year-old Year 9 student from the Faleata College, who died early Sunday morning in another hit-and-run accident. As well as the death of a 25-year-old man in Salelologa, Savai’i on April 8 when he fell off a dump truck and got run over by a 10-wheel vehicle, and an accident at Afulilo last month involving a Toyota Land Cruiser that led to the passing of a 51-year-old man. 

Despite the concerns at the rising fatalities from traffic accidents, Papali’i said the number of accidents between 2020 and 2021 continued to increase with Police records showing a 61 per cent rise between January and May this year.

“From 1 January till 1 May of 2021, 307 traffic accidents that have been recorded – and as of this year, for the record the numbers have been increased from January till May – approximately 496 which is 61 per cent increase of traffic accidents for the beginning of this year so far,” she said.

To address the rise in road accidents and fatalities, the Police have held workshops for taxi owners and construction companies in a bid to address the deadly road toll.

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