You might want to grab a tissue before you watch this one…
GREELEY, Colo. – They don’t have much to remember their dad by, except photographs and memories.
Tanner was just 15, when his dad, Weld County Deputy Sam Brownlee, was killed in the line of duty after a police chase in 2010.
Nearly five years later, Tanner and his brother, Chase, were hoping to get one of their dad’s prized possessions from the Weld County Sheriff’s Office.
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“It’d mean a lot to me and my brother. We’ve been through a lot,” said Tanner.
The Weld County Sheriff’s Office auctioned off their dad’s Dodge Charger on Wednesday night. The vehicle, with 147,000 miles, was being sold to raise money for C.O.P.S. — Concerns of Police Survivors, an organization that provides services for survivors of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.
“If we do get it tonight, I kind of hope my mom will let me drive it around tonight,” Tanner said before the auction.
“This is kind of the end of Sam’s legacy here. It’s the last tangible thing we have that he was connected to,” said Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams.
Tanner started a GoFundMe page to raise money to bid on the squad car. It was just more than $3,000 when the auction started. He didn’t reveal how much he had to spend, but he had a plan.
“I think I’m just going to look around, see what everyone else is doing and try to copy them,” said Tanner. “Just up them by one.”
When the auction started, Tanner bid first at $2,500. Within minutes, the bids were beyond the Kelly Blue Book value of $12,500.
“I think if it goes past the limit we have, I just have to hope that someone has it in their heart to win the car and give it to me and my brother. We don’t really have a backup plan,” said Tanner.
As the bids reached $50,000, Tanner’s limit had clearly come and gone, just like his dad’s car.
“60! Sold it your way, Mr. Steve Wells. Thank you very much,” said the auctioneer.
The car sold for $60,000 to a local rancher. Tanner didn’t know Wells before Wednesday, but won’t be able to forget him now.
As soon as the auctioneer handed Wells the keys, he turned to Tanner.
“Tanner, here’s your car,” said Wells.
“You had no idea that that guy in the back was bidding and was going to hand you the keys?” asked 7NEWS reporter Marshall Zelinger.
“Nope. I shook his hand and I didn’t know,” said Tanner. “It means so much to me.”
Tanner told the Sheriff he was going to donate the money from his GoFundMe account to C.O.P.S.
7NEWS spoke with Wells after the auction. He considered an interview for a moment, but then saw Tanner get behind the wheel of his new car and said he didn’t want to take away from that moment.