Sweetwater woman getting car back thanks to deputies, volunteers

Sweetwater woman getting car back thanks to deputies, volunteers

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Deputies in Monroe County are hard at work in their off hours, lending a hand to an elderly woman from Sweetwater.  They're helping to put her old car back together. Deputies in Monroe County are hard at work in their off hours, lending a hand to an elderly woman from Sweetwater. They're helping to put her old car back together.
"That is so good, so good knowing that I'm going to get my car," Frieda Queen said. "That is so good, so good knowing that I'm going to get my car," Frieda Queen said.
"Some of us guys at the sheriff's department, automotive shops, O'Reilly's Auto Parts, we are going to try to get together and do the right thing, trying to get this back up and running for her," said Deputy Eddie Manning. "Some of us guys at the sheriff's department, automotive shops, O'Reilly's Auto Parts, we are going to try to get together and do the right thing, trying to get this back up and running for her," said Deputy Eddie Manning.
The car had been disassembled at a repair shop in 2010. Dozens of parts had been removed. Many parts are still missing. The car had been disassembled at a repair shop in 2010. Dozens of parts had been removed. Many parts are still missing.
Garage owner Melvin Cagle has volunteered his services to re-assemble and paint the Chevy at his shop in Madisonville. Garage owner Melvin Cagle has volunteered his services to re-assemble and paint the Chevy at his shop in Madisonville.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

SWEETWATER (WATE) - Deputies in Monroe County are hard at work in their off hours, lending a hand to an elderly woman from Sweetwater.

They're helping to put her old car back together.

6 On Your Side first reported on Frieda Queen's car two years ago. It was taken to a repair shop, but never fixed. 

Previous story: Sweetwater woman waits two years to get car from garage

The owner of the garage told us at the time he'd honor his contract, but he didn't.

This is a story with a happy ending thanks to Monroe County's sheriff, a group of his deputies, and some civic minded businessmen who didn't like the way things turned out for the 80-year-old widow.

Deputy Eddie Manning took time off from work the other day to show us Queen's 1978 Chevrolet Impala. The car had been disassembled at a repair shop in 2010. Dozens of parts had been removed. Many parts are still missing.

A judge recently ordered the car returned to Queen.

"That is so good, so good knowing that I'm going to get my car," she said.

There's no window glass. In order to get her car, it has to re-assembled. That's where Deputy Manning and other volunteers enter this story.

"Some of us guys at the sheriff's department, automotive shops, O'Reilly's Auto Parts, we are going to try to get together and do the right thing, trying to get this back up and running for her," said Manning.

Queen took the Chevy to a garage in Sweetwater in August 2010 to be painted and have body work done. Her husband Raymond bought the 1978 Impala the year he died.

The garage owner wanted $3,600 in advance for the work. 

Previous story: Three years later, Sweetwater mechanic still has woman's car

When we first met Queen in 2012, was driving her son's pickup truck because repairs to the Chevy weren't finished yet.

She said the shop's owner, Finis Gentry, told her the car would be fixed by the fall of 2010.

Gentry was arrested in 2012 and charged with theft over $1,000. The case was delayed for nearly two years, and he beat the rap a few months ago. A jury said not guilty. However, he was ordered to return the car.

Determined volunteers are now on the hunt for those pieces to the 36-year-old car.

"It's hard to find pieces from 1978 for an Impala," said Manning.

Garage owner Melvin Cagle has volunteered his services to re-assemble and paint the Chevy at his shop in Madisonville.

"We've got some vendors that are going to help us restore the car, so it should come together pretty good," said Cagle.

"Between all of us here, we have a lot of experience working on cars, so we're going to try to get it back where she can drive it for a while," said Deputy Manning.

"I think it's wonderful. I think it's a miracle that those boys over there," said Queen. "They've got a good heart to help me put my car back together."

Deputies will work on the car on their days off.

"In about three months, she is going to be 81 years old. We would like to have it there for her birthday," said Manning.

Queen's birthday is mid-September.

"That would be wonderful. That would be a miracle that I get to drive my car one more time," she said.

There are hours of work ahead to restore the old Chevy, but many in Madisonville are determined it will look new when finished.

Windows, door panels, carpets and trim pieces are still missing.

More online: Help Save Ms. Queen's Impala

Deputies have established a Facebook page called "Help Save Ms. Queen's Impala." They're hoping people can lead them to missing parts.

Queen never got her money back from Gentry. She has yet to file a civil suit.

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