Man injured, two arrested following repossession attempt
A North Fort Myers man whose truck was being repossessed rode for awhile in the engine compartment before the vehicle crashed twice into a utility pole, knocking it and him to the ground.
The vehicle owner, of the 1800 block of Florie Court, suffered minor injuries in the crash and when he was hit several times with a can of pepper spray, according to a Lee County Sheriff’s Office report.
Two men were arrested in connection with the incident that occurred Tuesday night in two locations.
Melvin Vazquez, 33, of 415 Bellair Road, Fort Myers, was charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving injury, leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage and driving while license suspended/habitual offender.
Augusto Maria Procesi, 49, of 1813 Bolado Parkway, Cape Coral, was charged with two counts of battery.
The incidents began when the vehicle owner and another person were at a neighbor’s house when another neighbor said someone was sitting in the man’s truck. The couple, who live at the same address, ran home and found a man sitting in a silver car in the driveway and Procesi in the 2001 GMC Sierra.
The vehicle owner queried the man, later identified as Vazquez, as to what what he was doing in the truck. Vazquez said: “I’m taking your truck,” according to the report.
The owner reached into his truck and turned off the key. Procesi reportedly got out of the silver car and began arguing with the couple about the repossession.
The vehicle owner said he told Procesi he could not have the truck without proper paperwork to prove he had the right to repossess it.
At some point, according to the report, Procesi produced a can of pepper spray and began swinging it at the couple, striking the woman several times on the neck and arm, according to the report.
The truck owner also was hit several times and, when he grabbed the can, the spray was discharged.
Meantime the man opened the hood to try to disconnect the battery but Vazquez started it and fled with the truck owner under the open hood until he struck a utility pole with the driver’s side twice, knocking it to the ground and causing the man to fall, according to the report.
Vazquez fled in the truck, which had damage to the side and front including the tire coming off the rim, to the 100 block of Holland Drive, where he fled on foot, officials said.
Vazquez, who was found nearby, was asked by a deputy if he believed driving a truck with a person in the engine compartment was dangerous and could hurt someone. He answer was removed from the report.
A records search by deputies showed Vazquez’ license was suspended 11 times, revoked three times with two of those times for being a habitual violator.
Deputies noted that Procesi could not produce court documents giving the truck to him in a civil process.
“Procesi used force to repossess the vehicle which is not authorized by law,” the deputy wrote.