We all know that picking up hitchhikers is illegal. We all know that picking up hitchhikers can be dangerous. And yet, drivers are still consistently picking up unofficial travel companions all over the country. Well here’s another reason not to.
Long Island trucker Manuel Velasco has a big heart. He picked up a hitchhiker named Charles Kelley in Tennessee on Sept. 16th and let him ride with him. When he got home, he invited Kelley in for dinner. When it got late, he let Kelley sleep in the cab of his truck. This went on for 4 days until Velasco was pulled over for not paying the toll for a bridge and he found out that Kelley was wanted for forgery, theft, and murder.
Officer Steve Pisciotta pulled Velasco over and started writing him a ticket for not paying the toll while Officer Raymond Rodriguez began questioning Kelley. Officer Rodriguez became suspicious when Kelley was acting strange. First he said that he was a co-worker of Velasco’s, but he kept changing his story. When the officers ran a background check, they found that Kelley was on the lamb. In addition to his theft and forgery charges, he was wanted for allegedly bludgeoning one of his friends to death with a baseball bat.
When asked why he had been so quick to trust the man, Velasco replied “All I did was try to help him out, like I’d do for anyone,” and that he hadn’t know about the crimes. He went on to say that the 52-year-old Kelley had told him that he had four kids at home, and was currently looking for employment after having been recently laid off.
When police conducted a search of the vehicle, they found a knife in the glove box which Velasco said did not belong to him. He was lucky, and did not have any charges filed against him except for the ticket issued for not paying the toll. He was even luckier though that his new-found “friend” hadn’t had yet found a reason to use the knife.
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