Gate-crashing repo man flees Escondido impound yard

“You can’t carjack your own car,” declares judge

“Car plowed through the gate, took it out completely,” said the tow-yard employee.
  • “Car plowed through the gate, took it out completely,” said the tow-yard employee.

On July 30, 2017, LeDarral Shakouriel Hollingsworth went to the Allied Gardens tow yard in Escondido to get some paperwork from his car, which had been impounded, according to his attorney.

It was there, at 2444 Barham Drive, that Hollingsworth got into a fist fight with a man who worked there.

“There is no malicious intent,” said defense attorney Rick Crawford in court on August 16. “It was a mutual combat situation.”

The keys to the Pontiac were in the office.

The keys to the Pontiac were in the office.

Hollingsworth had been stopped at about 5 a.m. that Sunday morning by Escondido police because his car had a faulty headlight. His car was impounded because he did not have a valid driver’s license, nor proof of insurance. Three hours later, at about 8 a.m., Hollingsworth showed up at the tow yard, asking to get some things out of his car. He said he needed keys to get into the trunk of his car, and the man who had towed his car, named Eric, walked with Hollingsworth to the impounded Pontiac.

When Hollingsworth started the engine of his car, Eric said he told him, “I’m not okay with what you’re doing, so you’re going to have to leave.” That was when the taller and bulkier Hollingsworth got up close to Eric and told him, “Watch out, bro! I’m going to sock you on the set!”

Eric claimed he took a flurry of blows to his face before he could react — and then he turned to run toward the open yard gate while he pulled out his cell phone to dial 9-1-1. Eric said he ran about 50 yards and got to the gate, which was on wheels, and he almost had it closed when he heard the sound of the revving Pontiac overtaking him.

“Car plowed through the gate, took it out completely.” In fact, the Pontiac went through two sets of gates, Eric said. “It went through the gate that I closed, and it went through the main gate.”

Attorney Rick Crawford made a vigorous defense for his client.

Attorney Rick Crawford made a vigorous defense for his client.

Up until that moment the worst offense 19-year-old Hollingsworth had ever committed was driving without a license, according to attorney Crawford. “He did the wrong thing,” Crawford did allow. “This is misdemeanor behavior,” he told Superior Court judge Ronald Frazier. And the tow-yard worker was not so terribly injured. “It was a busted lip,” said the lawyer.

Crawford told a judge that Hollingsworth was trying to improve himself by going to Palomar College, where he hoped to make his way onto the football team. The defense made vigorous argument to persuade the judge to dismiss the carjacking charge, which a prosecutor wanted to add to other felony charges.

Prosecutor Donald McCann argued that the victim was the tow company, which had “constructive possession” of the silver Pontiac G-6; the prosecutor stated that Hollingsworth was not legally entitled to take that car by force or fear.

Judge Frazier listened to argument and then declared, “You can’t carjack your own car” and decided there was no probable cause for a carjacking charge against Hollingsworth.

The prosecution claimed it cost $3125 to repair the gates and fencing. From the witness box, Eric testified that he got three or four stitches inside his mouth at the hospital.

Hollingsworth pleaded not guilty to felony assault and felony vandalism charges and is next due in court on September 13, when a date for trial will be confirmed. Hollingsworth is currently at liberty on bond.

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This is why most tow yards don't let anyone near an impounded vehicle.

According to testimony, Hollingsworth was already inside the first gate when they discovered him, and he claimed the tow-truck driver was escorting him. Staff found Eric and sent him to help car-owner to get papers from trunk. According to attorneys, car owners are allowed to ask for certain necessary papers and meds from their impounded cars -- but maybe not the car keys?

Let me think. If Hollingsworth was non Mexican he wouldn't have the same opportunity to have a family member or friend pick up his vehicle before it was seized, towed, and impounded. Is that fair? What is it with Escondido PD and their taking of vehicles from people on the edge? Do they not get a ransom for every vehicle impounded? Why not issue a fix it ticket and give the individual a chance to fix? I agree, you cannot carjack your own vehicle. Have some compassion EPD! I see broken head and tail light and missing license plates on the bumpers of bmw's Mercedes etc all the time. Do you impound those too?

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