Families of men killed in American Samoa still waiting on release of bodies

The families of the four men killed in a car accident in American Samoa on December 18 are still waiting on the release of their bodies to make funeral arrangements.

The four were killed in front of the StarKist Samoa plant.

The Department of Public Safety has requested the Attorney General's office for autopsies of the four men.

Attorney General Fainuulelei Ala'ilima Utu told KHJ News that based on the request from police, his office has asked LBJ Hospital for autopsies of Faasaulala Ahoni, Taumaoe Filipo, Ierome Vili and Alatina Faleasi.

The head of the Criminal Division of the AG's Office Kristine Soule has written to the Chief Medical Director at LBJ Dr Iotamo Salaeapaga requesting autopsies to determine if a crime was committed in the deaths.

KHJ news asked the AG if the Department of Public Safety is conducting a review of police conduct in the deadly accident.

According to police information that's cited in a court affidavit supporting charges against the man charged in connection with the deaths, police had stopped his car which was reported to be speeding and driving recklessly.

Police flagged down Chanel Lafua near the Satala cemetery, and he stopped.

However according to police, when they approached the driver, he took off at an accelerated speed and police quickly lost sight of it.

The car crashed into another vehicle that was coming onto the highway from the StarKist plant before careening off the road and crashing into the cannery gate.

Deputy Commissioner Foifua said he doesn't believe police were at fault, the car had crashed before police followed it.

He said there's no internal investigation on police conduct and role into the tragic accident.


Photo supplied to RNZ Pacific Caption: Portraits of Taumaoe Filipo, Ierome Vili, Faasaulala Ahoni, and Alatina Faleasi who were killed in an accident,