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Driver's Death Ruled a Homicide

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 31, 2005; Page B02

The death of a 67-year-old tow truck driver who was critically injured while trying to prevent the theft of his rig over the weekend has been ruled a homicide, D.C. police said yesterday.

Bennie Lee Perry, who worked for ABC Towing in the District, died hours after he was run over by his truck Saturday morning in Southeast Washington, police said.

The incident took place about 10:45 a.m. when Perry emerged from a Safeway supermarket in the 2800 block of Alabama Avenue SE and noticed that his truck's brake lights were on, police said.

Perry rushed to the truck and discovered that a thief was trying to drive it out of the parking lot, police said. He jumped onto the truck's running board and got into a short fight with the driver, they said. He was pushed or fell from the truck and was run over by one of the rear wheels, police said.

Perry, who lived in the 2400 block of Hartford Street SE, gave a police officer an account of what happened when he was being taken by ambulance to Howard University Hospital, authorities said. He died there about 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Police recovered the truck Sunday in the unit block of 47th Street NE, and crime scene technicians were processing it yesterday for clues.

Staff researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this report.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company