Slippery Road

The past few months have seen many new entrants into the Bad Life Choices with a Rental Car Hall of Shame. And as our fourth honoree in the Inaugural AutoSlash Thankful We're Not ... series, Mr. Brian Wells earned entry into the Hall after an incident in Park County, Montana. Well, he's not a Park County resident, although he's likely to incur an extended stay there. Initially reported for erratic driving. he was all over the road like Easton Corbin (a little bit of left little bit of right) in his rental Cadillac CTS. The CTS is a $50,000 car and this is what one looks like before it rolls 2.5 times. Not twice, not thrice, but 2.5 times.

This image from the Cadillac website shows the 2018 model.

So how did this car get rolled 2.5 times? The story starts in Utah, where Mr. Wells had three warrants -- including one "No Bond" warrant -- yet rented a car before ending up in Montana. He was pulled over after being reported for erratic driving. The local news sources didn't go back to the original warrants, so we did -- Utah has an easy-to-search Statewide Warrants System. The "No Bond" warrant was from the Board of Pardons for a Fugitive Parole Violation. He also had some lesser warrants, including

  • Improper lane change in an occupied lane, and
  • Operating a motorcycle/ATV/cycle without a valid license endorsement. 

And while the rental car companies check the Do Not Rent List and may do a driver record check (the company, in this instance, apparently did not), the rental car companies don't do a criminal history check. So a gentleman with three active warrants in Utah and a suspended/revoked license ended up with a car in Montana, then got pulled over for driving erratically. And then Mr. Wells decided to flee the police, compounding an already certain trip to jail ...

Did Wells flee the police due to the existing warrants, a desire to avoid new citations, or as an opportunity to ditch the "clear plastic baggies with a white powdery substance" in his possession? Probably a combination of those factors, and those baggies are likely another reason to be incarcerated. His attempt to escape at 100 mph included driving on the wrong side of the highway at times, needlessly endangering law enforcement personnel and the traveling public. Of course, that was yet another reason to end up in jail.

His attempt to flee didn't go well, as the police located said "clear plastic baggies with a white powdery substance" and the rental Cadillac CTS ended up on its roof. The Montana State Patrol was happy to escort him to the local hospital and then jail. He's going to be paying debts to at least three entities. In Montana, he's facing (so far) charges of driving with suspended/revoked license, felony criminal endangerment, reckless driving, and eluding a police officer. More charges are pending in Montana, as "The Park County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating items thrown from the vehicle as well as possible illegal items that may still be in the vehicle". Then there are the three original warrants in Utah, including that fugitive warrant. So he's unlikely to see any Cadillacs (unless there's an inmate named Cadillac) for the next decade or two.   

And when he's done serving his time in the States of Montana and/or Utah, he'll still be responsible for paying off the cost of that $50,000 rental car! In a perfect world, we hope Mr. Wells' family and legal counsel are helping provide guidance by channeling Red Forman.

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