Bus driver claims his ‘best friend’ stole his cannery passengers
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 42-year-old bus driver from Tafeta who is accused of assaulting a fellow bus driver was arrested by police last week. Matthew Valaau made his initial appearance in District Court last week where he entered a not guilty plea to the charges against him. He is charged with 3rd degree assault, 2nd degree property damage, and public peace disturbance.
The defendant was released by the court on his own recognizance subject to usual conditions, including not having direct or indirect contact with the victim.
The government claims that it was around 8:12p.m Monday, Dec. 14th when a woman contacted police for assistance, regarding a man, who was being assaulted by another man at the Lions Park area in Tafuna. Three police officers responded to the call.
The caller further told police that the victim, who is a bus driver was assaulted by another male, who is also a bus driver. The woman told police that the victim was inside his aiga bus, parked at the Lions Park area while her vehicle was parked next to the victim’s bus. Later the victim exited his bus and walked under a tree to smoke a cigarette.
A few moments later, another aiga bus pulled over and parked next to the victim’s vehicle and the woman recognized the bus driver, as Matthew Valaau. According to the woman’s statement to police, she knew Valaau very well because they used to work together at the cannery a few years back.
She was shocked when she saw Valaau exit his bus, walk to where the victim was standing, grab the victim by the neck and allegedly push the victim against his bus.
As the victim tried to push the defendant away, that is when the defendant allegedly punched the victim in the face twice causing the victim to fall.
Another eyewitness who was inside the victim’s bus told police all he saw was, after a brief verbal argument, the defendant allegedly threw multiple punches at the victim’s face.
The victim told police he did not want to press charges against the defendant because he’s his best friend. The victim said the defendant was mad after he (victim) picked up passengers from the cannery the defendant was supposed to pick up.