At about noon Thursday, Ronald Maddox, 37, warned Huron County deputies he would be in Willard trying to take back a vehicle, Huron County Chief Deputy Ted Patrick said.
The job didn’t go as well as he hoped.
“All hell broke loose by the time we got there,” Patrick said.
Maddox found the van, owned by Don Vantu, in the 3300 block of Maple Ridge Road in Willard. He knocked on the door and asked for Vantu. It turned out, Vantu’s wife had been driving the vehicle and was at the residence visiting a friend.
Wanda Vantu, 51, told Maddox he must have been mistaken, that her husband had caught up on the payments on the van. She told him she was going to find her husband and he could follow her. Vantu climbed in the van and started to pull away, but she stopped when Maddox allegedly got in front of her and banged on the hood of the vehicle.
When Maddox walked to her driver’s-side window, Vantu locked the doors and put the vehicle back into drive, Patrick said. Maddox then allegedly pulled out a silver semi-automatic handgun and pointed it at Vantu’s head.
“He said, ‘You stop the van or I’m going to blow your head off,’” Patrick said.
The woman unlocked the van, and a sort of wrestling match ensued. Maddox allegedly grabbed Vantu by the neck and pinned her to the floor of the van. Vantu then grabbed a stun gun device and set it off near his head, but it didn’t touch him. He backed off and deputies arrived.
Maddox admitted he had pulled the weapon, but he said it was in self-defense, Patrick said.
Vantu told deputies she had pain in her groin, where Maddox had kneed her, and she had visible red marks around her neck, Patrick said.
Maddox was charged with assault and aggravated menacing and taken to the Huron County jail, where he posted $10,000 bond Friday and was released.
Law enforcement officers will often respond to a repo situation to keep the peace, but ownership of the property is a civil matter, and such force cannot be used to retain property, Patrick said.
Maddox was a concealed carry permit holder.
His license has since been seized and sent to the Richland County Sheriff’s Office, where it was originally issued.
It may be suspended pending a future court hearing, Patrick said.