PINELAND, Texas (AP) _ Race was apparently not a factor in the slaying of a white hitchhiker allegedly run over by a black man who wanted him to pay gas money, authorities said Monday.

Jasper County Sheriff Billy Rowles, who investigated the 1998 case of James Byrd Jr. _ a black man dragged to death on a rural road by three white men _ said race or revenge do not appear to be behind the killing.

According to authorities, the victim, Ken Bimbo Tillery, 44, visited a Jasper trailer park Friday night and asked around for a ride home.

Blake Little, 34, and three others _ two men and a woman _ offered him a lift in Little's pickup truck after agreeing on a price of $5 for gas, police said.

The price increased to $50 by the time the men arrived in Pineland, 130 miles northeast of Houston, police said. Tillery tried to escape and was chased.

``A couple of the guys jump him and beat up on him, then the driver of the car runs over the guy,'' Rowles said.

Little was arrested Sunday on murder charges. He had not been assigned a lawyer as of Monday.

Rowles said all the men were suspected of drinking and smoking crack cocaine.

Jasper is the same town where Byrd died 3 1/2 years ago when he was chained at his ankles behind a truck and dragged for nearly three miles along a road until he was dismembered and decapitated.

Three white supremacists were convicted of murdering Byrd. Two are awaiting execution and the third is serving life in prison.