Son of deceased cop tries to buy car his dad drove—but man outbids him & turns around to do this

August 14, 2017 7:55 pm Last Updated: December 23, 2017 12:34 pm


Tanner Brownlee from Weld County in Colorado lost his father when he was 15-years-old. He was killed in a car accident in 2010.

Deputy Sam Brownlee was in full pursuit of a suspect during a police chase when the tragic accident that ended his life occurred. Tanner was devastated.

Saving For A Legacy

In 2015, the police car that was involved in that chase went up for auction.

When the Tanner first heard that the car was to become available, his younger brother, Chase, and he started to raise money with the hopes of being able to purchase the car their dad last drove while serving and protecting in the line of duty. It was personal, and it was emotional.

The bidding for C.O.P.S. begins.

The auction, an annual event that raises funds for families who have lost someone while on duty, is called C.O.P.S., Concerns of Police Survivors. The auction process is no different than most auctions. People offer their bids with the hope that their highest bid will get them their desired purchase.

Hoping For A Miracle

Tanner knew his fathers’ Dodge Charger with 147,000 miles on it was valued at $12,500, but he and his brother had only managed to raise $3000. Still, they were hopeful.

In an interview with ABC Denver, Tanner said, “If we do get it tonight, I kind of hope my mom will let me drive it around tonight.”

Out Of Reach

When the car came up as the item for auction, the bids escalated fast and furious and were nearly immediately out of reach for Tanner. He simply did not have the money to compete with the other bidders.

The bidding reached $60,000.

When the bidding was over, the car went for $60,000 to a local rancher named Steve Wells. Although Tanner was happy to know that his fathers’ car had brought in a hefty donation for the cause, he was also heartbroken.

But in a matter of seconds, his heart would be healed by an incredible gesture of good will. 

“Here’s your car.”

The man with the highest bid was handed the car keys and promptly presented them to Tanner, saying,  “Tanner, here’s your car.” Stunned and filled with emotion, Tanner graciously accepted.

Tanner later told CBS Denver, “This is just so huge. I mean, me and my dad built a fence and stuff, but having something I can use and drive around that he drove around, it just means a lot.”

Chalk one up for the good guys.

At the end of the auction, Tanner opened the door of his fathers’ car and drove it home. 

“It just, it means so much to me. I thank everyone for that,” said Tanner.

Tanner donated the $3,000 he and his brother had raised to C.O.P.S.