Grandfather killed while trying to stop SUV from being repossessed

A Texas man died while trying to stop a tow truck driver from repossessing his SUV in Houston, police and his distraught relatives said.

Alberto Nduli, 68, confronted the driver after being awoken by a neighbor at about 7 a.m. Thursday, his sister-in-law told KTRK.

“They were inside the home, the neighbor just saw the wrecker came to tow the car,” Patricia Malewo told the station. “They come to my sister’s house and knock on the door, and they say, ‘Something happened to your car.’”

But since the SUV was parked in its assigned spot at Nduli’s apartment complex, the Congolese native thought the repossession was a mistake, Malewo told the Houston Chronicle. He then apparently ran outside and jumped onto the SUV as it was attached to the tow truck, Houston police told the newspaper.

The driver, whose identity was not immediately released, then slammed on the gas, sending Nduli violently to the ground and causing fatal injuries, relatives said. It’s unclear whether Nduli — a grandfather and father of seven — was crushed by either vehicle, but an autopsy is expected to provide investigators a fuller picture of his injuries, according to Harris County Assistant District Attorney Sean Teare.

Police said the tow truck driver fled the scene after Nduli’s fatal fall and returned hours later after dropping off the man’s repossessed SUV at an impound lot. He will likely face a felony charge of failure to stop and render aid, Teare told the newspaper.

“By his own admissions prior to returning to the scene, he knew there was an altercation,” Teare said. “He knew the owner of the vehicle was there and 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.”

Relatives told KTRK that Nduli had actually paid off the car, but later took a title loan, in which the borrower’s vehicle is used as collateral against an outstanding debt. But high interest rates can sometimes lead to missed payments and ultimately repossession.

Nduli lived in Houston for nearly two decades and worked as a security guard, KTRK reports.

Malewo said she cannot believe her brother-in-law is gone.

“It’s emotional,” she told the Chronicle. “You’re sleeping [next to] someone and they go outside to talk with a worker. Now, [he’s dead] forever.”

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