Earle police cruiser back on the road after repairs

Thrown rod sets already-strapped city back

By Mark Randall news@theeveningtimes.com

An Earle police cruiser which blew a rod due to low oil has been fixed and is back on the streets. What’s more, the repair bill was far cheaper than expected for the cash strapped city. City Clerk Cynthia Conner said the city was able to repair the car for $1,100, which was far cheaper than the $7,000 they had been quoted by the dealership. “That saves us a lot of money,” Conner said. Mayor Carolyn Jones told the city council at its December meeting that the 2014 Dodge Charger blew an engine rod because the oil was low and hadn’t been properly maintained. The car was being driven by Officer Mary Rowland who said she heard a loud popping sound. Rowland told the city council that she had checked the oil and that it was a dark color and appeared not to have been changed. The city’s mechanic, Lee Johnson, disputed the claim. Johnson was paid $4,000 to maintain the city’s fleet of vehicles and equipment and has since been dismissed by Jones. The vehicle had to be towed to Fletcher Dodge in Jonesboro. According to the dealership, there was a hole in the bottom of the engine and the oil filter was missing. Fletcher told the city that it would cost $7,400 to repair because it was not covered by the warranty. The car only had 34,800 miles on it. Conner said the car was fixed by Beggs Auto Supply, a local NAPA parts dealer in Earle. “They took it there to get a price to see if they could fix it and the council was very pleased by the quote,” Conner said. “We got the car back Monday.”

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