- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 2, 2004

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The victim of a hit-and-run accident who was dragged more than eight miles might have died from the dragging, rather than from the impact of the crash, according to information revealed at a bail hearing yesterday in Fairfax County.

Josuel P. Galdino, 25, of Lorton, was charged with manslaughter, driving while intoxicated and felony hit-and-run after calling police Sunday to report finding a man’s body that apparently had been caught in his sport utility vehicle’s front-end suspension.

“If he were dead sober and hit this man and just got on the phone and called the police, that would’ve been the end of it,” said Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr.

Police said Fitsum Gebreegziabher, 27, had gotten out of his car to check on a flat tire along Interstate 95 in Springfield when he was struck by Mr. Galdino’s SUV. According to investigators, Mr. Gebreegziabher then was dragged 8 miles to Mr. Galdino’s Lorton home.

“[Mr. Galdino] represents a danger to the community,” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Ian Rodway told the court, as he urged that Mr. Galdino not be released on bond.

Mr. Rodway also said information he had received through the autopsy report indicated that the victim died as a result of being dragged.

Defense attorney Daniel Lopez said the initial information that he had received suggested that Mr. Gebreegziabher died upon the vehicle’s impact.

The chief medical examiner’s office declined to comment on the cause of death yesterday, saying the case still is under investigation.

Mr. Gebreegziabher was a native of Ethiopia. He had been staying with a relative in Woodbridge during a visit to the Washington area.

Fairfax County police said Mr. Galdino is a domestic worker for the Brazilian Embassy in the District.

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