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Confiscated hot rod sells for $19,500 to northern Minn. man

WILLMAR - The Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office has sold the 1939 Ford Deluxe Coupe hot rod that was confiscated from a Dassel man charged with multiple driving while impaired offenses.

Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog said the car was sold last month to a man from northern Minnesota who paid $19,500. The amount was less than what the sheriff's office had initially been told the car might be worth, but Hartog felt the price was fair.

"We were told that the car would be valued between $25,000 and $30,000 by a couple of people,'' said Hartog. The car had been offered for $25,000 on eBay, but there were no buyers.

"We had somebody else look at the car since that time and they lowered the value on it,'' he said.

Hartog said the car was taken June 20 to the "Back to the 50's'' car show, which was held June 19-21 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

"We had someone bring the car down for us and they sat with a for-sale sign,'' Hartog said. A man from northern Minnesota expressed an interest in the car and provided a check.

The car was returned to the storage garage in Willmar where confiscated evidence is held, and the sheriff's office held the check until the man arrived the following Monday. Hartog said the man brought a mechanic with him "to make sure there weren't other things that you can't see just by looking at it.''

The mechanic "gave it the once-over'' and felt the price was worth it. At that point, the man provided a certified check.

Hartog said the $19,500 paid for the car will be split with the sheriff's office receiving 70 percent, which will be used to buy patrol car cameras and other equipment, and with the county attorney's office receiving 30 percent to help cover prosecution costs.

"I think we got a fair price for it after somebody else came in and looked at it and gave us another value on the car,'' Hartog said.

The car was confiscated from Jerry Lee Smith, 58, of Dassel after he was stopped on Aug. 22, 2008, near Atwater. Smith was stopped after driving erratically and was later charged with driving while intoxicated, his fifth since 1983.