Bank teller helps investigators after deadly accident - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Bank teller helps investigators after deadly accident

Abigail Villalobos uses her bilingual skills to translate. Abigail Villalobos uses her bilingual skills to translate.
Villalobos helped investigators communicate with the only witness who didn't speak English. Villalobos helped investigators communicate with the only witness who didn't speak English.
TURNER CO., GA (WALB) -

English didn't come easy when Abigail Villalobos came to America at age 7.

"I remember crying, coming home, crying to my momma saying 'I don't want to be here anymore' just because I didn't understand the language," said Abigail Villalobos.

15 years later, she now uses her bilingual skills to translate.

"I do it to help people out because, like I said, I know what it's like to not be able to understand the language," said Villalobos.

The biggest test came last month when 61-year-old Isabel Gomez died while operating a front-end loader at WBT Farm Service in Rebecca. Gomez's brother didn't speak english.

"He was the only witness there that actually saw what happened, and she was able to translate information back to the investigators so we had a clearer understanding of what happened out there that day," said Turner County Sheriff Andy Hester.

Villalobos works as a teller at the Colony Bank by day, but was happy to help in her first investigation.

"I'm more of a hands on person so I'm glad I got the opportunity to actually be there and be apart of everything," said Villalobos.

Sheriff Hester hopes this situation will lead to more opportunities.

He even offered to pay for her to become a certified courtroom translator.

"If we called, and she was available, she could come out and help us in other areas, not just in court. By her being certified in court, it helps when she goes out to a scene because she can go and then testify in court," said Hester.

Sheriff Hester said anyone who is proficient in English and another language can call his office and be put on a list to be used in similar situations.

Copyright 2014 WALB. All rights reserved.

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