A vehicle repossession literally went south Monday for a tow truck driver.
Charles Buckland, 44, driving for PNR Services out of Dolores, was arrested for motor-vehicle theft and reckless driving.
Law enforcement said Buckland repossessed the wrong vehicle – prompting the owner to call two friends who gave chase. During the chase, Buckland hit another vehicle, leading that driver to join the pursuit. Eventually, two of the three pursuers also were cited for reckless driving.
The caper started at 11 a.m. when Paulita Manzanares called Southern Ute Indian Tribal Police to report that her gray Chevrolet Trailblazer was being towed from her house on Browning Avenue in Ignacio, La Plata County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dan Bender said.
Manzanares notified two friends as the tow truck pulled away. The friends, each in a vehicle, pursued the truck west on County Road 318, southwest of Ignacio, then south on U.S. Highway 550.
Manzanares, without her wheels, remained at home.
At one point, the driver of one following vehicle got in front of the tow truck and tapped on the brakes to signal the driver. The car was rear-ended but continued to follow the tow truck, Bender said.
The driver of yet another vehicle that had been struck by the tow truck also joined the pursuit, Bender said.
When the tow truck was about one mile from the New Mexico line, a worried Buckland, who had called 911, made a U-turn across the median, damaging Manzanares’ Trailblazer.
The incident came to an end at Highway 550 and La Posta Canyon Road (County Road 213) when a La Plata County Sheriff’s Office deputy and a Colorado State Patrol trooper corralled the runaway truck.
Long story short, Bender said, it was discovered that there was another gray Trailblazer just down the street from Manzanares, each with a license plate that begins with 433. Only the three letters differ.