Jeep owner pursued in I-55 high speed chase sues Granite City repossession co.

Andrea Dearden Jun. 14, 2012, 4:18am


A Granite City repossession company is being sued for allegedly chasing and assaulting the owners of a Jeep who say the vehicle was never supposed to be taken.

Todd and Stacey Hindrichs filed a lawsuit June 1 in Madison County Circuit Court against United Repossessors Inc. and three of its employees. TD Auto Finance LLC also is named as a defendant.

According to the complaint, the Hindrichs were at their home in Jefferson County, Mo. in February when a female employee of URI arrived and began to try to repossess the couple's 2005 Jeep Cherokee, which was parked in the driveway. Todd Hindrichs says he went outside to ask the employee what she was doing and she explained she was there to take the Jeep.

Hindrichs claims he made it clear there was a mistake and called his finance company, TD Auto Finance, to confirm the account was not delinquent. Hindrichs says the loan company's representative explained to the URI employee the account was current and the car was not to be repossessed.

At that time, Hindrichs says another URI employee pulled a tow truck into position to load the Jeep and told Hindrichs they were taking the car despite what the finance representative told them, allegedly saying, "If we don't take the vehicle, we don't get paid and we're getting paid tonight."

Instead, Hindrichs says he decided to take the car off the property himself and the URI employees tried to stop him from leaving. Avoiding a collision, Hindrichs drove out of his subdivision and says he was followed by the employees in the tow truck. Hindrichs says they prevented him from pulling into the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. He says the chase continued in an aggressive manner onto Interstate 55.

At that point, another URI employee, driving a white Chevy Tahoe joined the pursuit, according to Hindrichs, and they both were able to keep him from exiting the freeway. Hindrichs claims the high-speed chase went on for more than 40 miles before he was able to exit on the Reavis Barracks Road off-ramp. Hindrichs says he was then trapped at the off-ramp's intersection by the tow truck and Chevy Tahoe.

That is when the driver of the Tahoe allegedly opened the door of the Jeep and threw Hindrichs to the ground. While the third URI employee held him at bay with threats of violence, Hindrichs claims his Jeep was loaded onto the tow truck and taken away. He says he walked to a bank and called police to file a report. The next day Hindrichs and his wife, Stacey, say they drove to URI's tow lot in Granite City to pick up their Jeep.

The Hindrichs accuse TD Finance and URI and its employees of violating the Uniform Commercial Code for wrongfully taking their car. The defendants are also accused of assault and battery, trespass, emotional distress and conversion. The Hindrichs seek more than $300,000 in damages and court fees.

Attorneys Eric Evans of Granite City and Jason A. Charpentier of St. Louis represent the Hindrichs.

Madison County Circuit Court Case No. 12-L-767

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