Truck Driver Manuel Velasco Speaks Of Driving With Suspect For 4 Days

FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island truck driver tried to do a good deed – and ended up taking a man wanted for murder home for a dinner with his wife and kids.

Manuel Velasco was as surprised as the police to find that the hitchhiker he’d driven from Tennessee was a wanted man, CBS 2’s John Slattery reported Friday.

“I was really shocked because, like I said, he was a very quiet guy,” Velasco said.

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The hitchhiker he picked up was 52-year-old Charles Kelley of Blain, Tenn., who ended up in handcuffs as he was about to enter New York

This all went down Thursday evening on the George Washington Bridge when police pulled over Velasco’s big rig because of its lack of plates.

Police said the truck went through an E-ZPass lane with no front license plate and had an opaque cover over the rear plate.

“Not just that, you’re entering New York City when you’re trying to hide your identity,” said Steve Pisciotta of the Port Authority Police.

The 37-year-old driver, who was issued three summonses, said he drove the passenger around for four days, allowing him to sleep in his truck, and on Long Island even allowed him to eat twice with his family.

“I brought him into my house,” Velasco said.

But when they were stopped at the bridge, police ran a check on the passenger, and found he was a suspect for forgery, theft and murder.

“To put a hold on him as a murder suspect out of Jefferson County, Tenn.,” said Port Authority cop Raymond Rodriguez.

Police in White Pine, Tenn., suspect Kelley in the May 21 killing of a man he’d been living with, whose body was found inside this trailer.

“Like my wife told me, don’t pick up any strangers,” Velasco said.

Police said it’s like going after fare beaters in the subway. Every now and then you come up with a suspected killer.

Kelly, who was taken into custody, was awaiting extradition to his home state.

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