Tort Law

Elderly Man Is 'Surprised as Hell' When Passengers in His Stolen Car Sue over Crash

A 91-year-old Oregon man says he was “surprised as hell” to learn he is the defendant in a lawsuit filed by two passengers injured in his stolen car.

George Hinnenkamp of Lorane Valley reported his Thunderbird stolen in June 2009, the Register-Guard reported last month. Later he learned that the alleged thief, a man he had hired to do odd jobs, had crashed the car, injuring two passengers.

Now the passengers are suing both Hinnenkamp and the driver, who was convicted of auto theft for stealing the car, according to the Register-Guard and the Seattle Weekly. Despite the conviction, the passengers claim Hinnenkamp gave the thief permission to drive his car on the night of the crash. Hinnenkamp denies the allegation.

“I was surprised as hell,” Hinnenkamp told Register-Guard. He elaborated in an interview with the Seattle Weekly. “When I came home—I’d been out shopping—there were skid marks and the car was gone,” Hinnenkamp said. “I reported the car missing right away.” He said he was “shocked” by the suit.

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