2002 Buick Regal LSEnlarge Photo
Contrary to the goofy, semi-paramilitary operations you may see on TV, car repossession is anything but a fun business. Too often the people losing their cars for lack of payment are the ones that need them most. Unfortunately, one such woman was killed during a repossession attempt yesterday, in Chino Hills, CA.
Tow truck driver and repo man Leo Song pulled up to the mobile home of 42-year-old Lisa Via to haul off her 2002 Buick (of undisclosed model). When he did, Via asked him not to take the car. Song responded that he had to. That's where things got weird, and sadly, deadly.
Most states, California included, have statutes that prevent repossessions from "breaching the peace," i.e., causing a disturbance or physical violence. According to Song and the San Bernardino Sheriff's Office, there was no confrontation in this case. Via instead took the silent protest route, lying down in front of her car after Song had secured it and climbed back into his truck. Song didn't know she had done this until her husband ran up to the window of the truck and told Song his wife was trapped under the Buick.
Song used a jack to lift the car off Via, who was rushed to the hospital. She was pronounced dead upon arrival. So far, authorities are calling the incident an accident. There were no drugs or alcohol involved.
This sad case is not typical of the thousands of repossessions that take place daily around the U.S., but it does highlight one important fact: no matter how important your car is to you, your life is more important. Act accordingly.