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Collateral damage: Billings man feels 'helpless' after vintage truck hit by stolen vehicle

Kaiser with his truck
Posted at 8:38 AM, Nov 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-16 10:38:20-05

The high-speed chase that took place in Billings Saturday evening ended with the suspect crashing into a parked, vintage truck on Terry Avenue.

That chase began with the shooting of Brassar McCabe in a Lockwood neighborhood and covered 10 miles before ending in Billings with the suspect hitting a 1985 Chevy Scottdale.

The truck's owner, Donny Kaiser, was given it 17 years ago after his uncle died.

"Ever since I was little, I always remember him driving it," Kaiser said as he looked at the damage Wednesday morning. "So, I've been trying to keep it nice ever since then and then stuff like this happens. It sucks."

Kaiser said the chaos on Saturday got his attention and while he didn't see the crash, he definitely heard it.

“I was just getting ready to go to bed, just about 10 o'clock and just hear a bunch of sirens,” Kasier said. "A couple seconds later I just hear a huge crash, sounds just like an aluminum can being crushed."
 
Now, Kaiser is hoping to make repairs. The truck was parked on the side of Terry Avenue and hit head on, causing significant damage to the front bumper and hood area. Kaiser said he's actually dealt with a stolen vehicle crashing into that same truck before and the financial help he received from insurance was minimal.

“It is a helpless feeling. Like I said, it’s happened before and insurance was like, 'There’s nothing we can do about it,'” Kaiser said.

 Kaiser managed to fix up those damages the first time because the vehicle crashed into the side of the truck. But this time, Kaiser feared the repairs would be beyond his abilities.

"I'm not much of a mechanic or anything like that," Kaiser said. "Typically, there's a lot of damage inside when stuff like this happens and that's kind of out of my wheelhouse."

Unfortunately, Kaiser's insurance concerns are justified. According to State Farm insurance agent Kari Jones, a stolen vehicle accident creates a tricky situation.

“So, the liability follows the vehicle that involves in the accident because this vehicle was stolen,” Jones said. "That kind of creates a big mess."

Jones said technically it would be the suspect, 18-year-old Ashtin Glen, who is responsible for the damages. However, if Glen isn't insured, or it's determined he wasn't at fault in the collision, then it would fall to the owner of the stolen vehicle.

Jones also said that even if Kaiser received financial help, it probably wouldn't cover the expenses due to the age of the truck.

“Of course, there’s sentimental value attached to it and there’s no way to replace that," Jones said. "But they’re going to look at it like a truck that was damaged in an accident and try to assess the value of it."

 A headache that Kaiser is aware of, but one he's determined to solve. He said regardless of what he hears for insurance, he isn't planning on letting this truck go.

“Every time I drive this truck, I think about my uncle," Kaiser said. "I’d like to keep it for as long as I can, but after this, it’s going to be a lot of work willing to put it back together."

His primary concern is with the victim and his family, hoping that he can make a full recovery.

“I feel bad. That poor guy, you know, you got people coming into his yard, his property, stealing his property and shooting him the process," Kaiser said. "That ain't right. My thoughts are with him and like I said, this is nothing compared to that."