Tow truck driver beaten; suspect in custody

A Pflugerville man was badly hurt when two men brutally attacked him leaving him unconscious.At the time, the victim, a tow truck driver, was trying to tow their car.

The ordeal happened at Sterling Village apartments in North Austin but at the time police did not arrest anyone.

Romeo Martinez describes the moments he was attacked while doing his job. He arrived to the sterling village complex around 5:30 in the morning on Sept. 20 to tow an illegally parked car.

“I'm going to kill you, I'm going to kill you, that's it,” Martinez said.

“At the time I got approached by one gentleman and shortly after, he disappeared,” he said.

Martinez didn't think much of it, just thought it was a little frustration from the owner. He continued to latch the car onto the tow truck.

“The second person comes up and starts messing with the equipment on the tow truck and I asked him what are you doing”? Martinez said.

After the two exchanged words, the situation escalated when that suspect's father came back to the scene.

“He came back from behind me, choked me, started strangling me, picking me up off the ground, and the other person I was talking to started punching me a bunch of times in my face,” Martinez said.

The ordeal lasted around 15 minutes. After a neighbor saw what was going on, the two men threw Martinez behind a car and left him there, unconscious.

He stayed at University Medical Center  Brackenridge for a week before doctors released him. He had several injuries with nerve damage in his left eye being the most serious.

“I did lose vision for a while for a good two to three weeks,” Martinez said.

Austin police say they now have the father, 54-year-old Luis Merlan in custody. They have not arrested his son yet.

There's not a day that passes now, that Martinez doesn't think about how lucky he is.

“I'm the most happiest when I walk through that door and come home to my wife. I've seen it on TV, I've seen it on social media, about a tow truck driver killed,” he said.

Although he may not be the person car owners want to see in their parking lots, he reminds everyone that he is just doing his job.

“It's our job to do what we have to do, we're people too,” he said.

The suspect, Luis Merlan, is in jail on a $25,000 bond.

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