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Archive for Monday, November 14, 2011

25 years ago: Car shop owner clings to runaway car as driver attempts to avoid paying bill

November 14, 2011

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Nov. 14, 1986:

In his attempt to collect an unpaid bill of $246, the owner of a local auto repair shop had been in danger of his life recently. Leon L. Jennings, 43, owner of Leon's Bug Barn, 1226 E. 23rd. had witnessed the owner of a Porsche approaching the car after it had been repaired and maneuvering the car to drive it away. "When I saw him try to drive the car away, I ran outside and stood in front of the car," Jennings said. "He drove toward me so I jumped and I landed on the roof of the car. He then took off." The car's owner drove away with Jennings hanging on by the windshield wipers, while a shop employee who witnessed the incident attempted to follow in a pickup truck. The Porsche headed west on 23rd, then turned around in a parking lot and began heading east. "While he was driving the car he turned on the windshield wipers and he was swerving the car so I would fall off," Jennings recalled. The employee later told police that the Porsche had attained a speed of 80 mph during the chase before slowing near an automobile salvage yard near Kansas Highway 10. Jennings jumped off at that point and was picked up by his employee. The Porsche's driver then headed east on K-10 and was later stopped by the Kansas Highway Patrol about 13 miles east of Lawrence. After being arrested for aggravated battery and having his bail set at $5,000, the driver had been released on his own recognizance and was to appear in court the following day. Reflecting on the incident, Jennings said, "If the situation were to happen again I would not get in a position of getting in front of the vehicle. I feared for my life, but I knew of nothing else to do at the time. I was so excited and scared I didn't even feel how cold it was."

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