After 9 years in impound lot, City of Albuquerque returns classic car to owner | KOB 4

After 9 years in impound lot, City of Albuquerque returns classic car to owner

Chris Ramirez
May 03, 2019 12:03 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The City of Albuquerque returned an impounded classic car to its owner on Wednesday.


The Albuquerque Police Department impounded the 1970 Chevy Chevelle in 2009 after Leo Martinez was arrested for DWI.

Martinez admitted to drinking and driving. He served time in jail, but he didn’t think it was fair for the city to keep the car he built.

For nine years, Martinez went to car shows and APD auctions in search of his car.

During that time, the New Mexico Legislature declared that vehicle seizures by governments illegal and the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled the practice unconstitutional.

As Martinez was giving up hope that he would ever find the car, he saw it featured in a post on Facebook.

Days later, 4 Investigates found the car in a city impound lot.

The city agreed to return the vehicle to Martinez and followed through on Wednesday.

“It is a good day,” Martinez said. “This had been a long time in the making.”

A quick inspection of the vehicle revealed weathered paint and a missing battery. Martinez said the car’s engine will also need some work.

He had it towed to his house and said he and his buddies will restore it.

“We all get together and go work on their car and when it’s time to do my car, we all get together and do mine,” Martinez said. “Now we are going to have a project.”

Martinez filed a lawsuit against the city. His attorney said the lawsuit will move forward even though Martinez got his car back.


Chris Ramirez

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

Comment on Facebook

Share 4 - News Tips - Photos - Videos
  Share a News Tip, Story Idea, Photo, Video




Gov. Lujan Grisham says law enforcement has to enforce new red-flag law

Autopsy confirms body found in Arizona is missing Farmington woman

New city council committee to focus on public safety

Study: Balloon Fiesta had $186 million economic impact in Albuquerque area

Educators learn about new ways to teach STEAM