A police report filed by the Bureau of Public Safety (BPS) on last Saturday’s hit-and-run incident shed light on the circumstances surrounding the death of 32-year-old Palauan athlete Kalson Dulei.
According to the report, Patrol Dispatch received a call at 5:35am on March 20 by one of Dulei’s softball teammates, reporting that Dulei had been run over by a vehicle in the southbound-lane of the Compact Road between Ngatpang and Aimeliik states. After the collision, the vehicle had reportedly continued heading up the road towards Aimeliik, momentarily slowing down and then speeding up again.
An ambulance and detectives of the Criminal Investigation Division were alerted and dispatched to the scene. Upon arrival, medics found Dulei to be unconscious with visible injuries on the side of the Compact Road. He was rushed to the Belau National Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The report states that a man appeared at the police station at 10am the same morning, indicating that he may have been the one who had been driving the vehicle that had crashed into and killed Dulei.
According to the report, the driver claims that he thought he had run over a tire in the middle of the road at the time of the collision, but due to uncertainty he did not stop to investigate. He approached the police with this information after hearing that someone had been hit and killed by a vehicle in the same place he had collided with an unknown object.
The police report makes no mention of alcohol being involved.
Police interviews with a witness at the scene, one of the victim’s softball teammates, say that, prior to the accident, Dulei and several of his teammates had been on their way home to Ngardmau when the vehicle they were in ran out of gas, pulled to the side of the road, and parked on the shoulder of the northbound lane. Several of the teammates had left Dulei and the witness in the car and had walked to see if they could get some assistance and some gas for their vehicle. The witness had allegedly stayed in the vehicle when Dulei exited, and shortly after the accident occurred.
Although the police report does not name the driver of the vehicle which collided with Dulei, other sources have identified the driver as Siles Ngiralulk from Ngeremlengui.
The report states that the investigation is still ongoing.
Kalson Dulei was a multisport athlete who has competed both at home and internationally in baseball, basketball, and track and field, representing Palau in countries such as Samoa and New Caledonia.