A mechanic paid to replace a part in a Chevrolet Trailblazer five months ago has yet to return with the part. The SUV hasn’t moved since being towed to a driveway in East Knoxville where the owner is desperate. She has no way to get around.

The mechanic started tinkering on the car in March and took money each time, but never completed the job.

Over the years, you may have hired a shade tree mechanic. That’s someone who owns a set of wrenches along with other toolbox goodies and can get vehicles running right there in your driveway. Fran Jordan has known her mechanic for several years and trusted him, until recently.

Jordan isn’t afraid to get her hands greasy, but says she’s not as young as she used to be.  Under the hood of her SUV, engine parts are missing and tools were left behind in the engine bay by a mechanic paid to fix her car.

“He just walked off and said I’ll see you in a couple of days,” said Jordan.

Jordan, a recent widow, said she hired a shade tree mechanic last March and put $100 down. His name is George Watts, from Oak Ridge. Jordan said her 1997 Chevy Blazer broke down and wouldn’t start. Watts worked on the Blazer in the driveway to Jordan’s apartment. He even left his jack behind. 

The last time Jordan saw Watts was on May 29 when he took $80.

“In fact, he took me to the bank. He wouldn’t take a check,” said Jordan.

The part that’s missing is the fuel injector called a spider injector, according to an auto parts dealer. Jordan said she expected him to come back no later than the first of June. It’s now August and she still can’t drive her SUV.

There were five trips. Jordan gave Watts money each time for a total of more than $400.

“I haven’t been without a vehicle since I was 13 years old,” Jordan said with a laugh. “I’ll be 84 next month.”

Watts gave Jordan a picture of the injector that supposedly he went off to buy and was to bring back the real thing.  

“These here cost $85 apiece and said he can get them cheaper,” said Jordan.

Jordan lives on fixed income and said she can’t afford to buy parts again. 

“If he would come back and fix it I’d be happy, but he won’t even answer his phone. When I call, it puts me right to… voicemail,” she said.

WATE 6 On Your Side called Watts to ask when he’ll be returning, but was also rerouted to voicemail.

Watts didn’t answer our message, nor several others calls left over the last six days. WATE went to an auto parts store to find out information about the fuel injector system for 1997 Chevy Blazers. They said a replacement will cost from $320 to $330.

Currently, a friend takes Jordan to the grocery store, but she’d like to get her car running.

“I know I can find a mechanic that can put it back together, but I can’t afford to buy all of that. All I want is the parts to my car, so I can get it fixed,” Jordan said.

When you hire an auto mechanic like Jordan did, it’s best to know that they’re going to do the work once you give them the money. In her case, there was no formal description of what the mechanic was going to buy, how much it would cost, or when she could expect him to complete the work.