Pembroke police chief fired in cruiser repair controversy - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Pembroke police chief fired in cruiser repair controversy

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Former Pembroke Police Chief Mark Crowe Former Pembroke Police Chief Mark Crowe

Pembroke's police chief has been fired in a controversy surrounding a wreck in a police vehicle.

It's not the wreck that's the problem, but where now-former Chief Mark Crowe got his cruiser repaired.

Crowe's car was damaged in April after he performed a PIT maneuver on Ash Branch Road to stop a man fleeing in a high-speed chase after a burglary in Bulloch County.

"The damage was from one side of the car to the other, the front bumper to the back bumper," said Valli Gapac, owner of Valli's Precision Collison, the company that repaired the car.

Crowe got three bids, and Valli's, located in Statesboro, repaired it at a cost of $4,800. A Pembroke Company, Burnsed Body Shop, put in a bid almost $2,000 lower.

"Burnsed estimate as about $2,600," Gapac said. "To me, the city council should've questioned, ‘Why was this estimate so low? Was all the repairs being done? Was something missed?"

Gapac's shop does work on Georgia State Patrol, Statesboro police and Pembroke police cars.

"My bid wasn't thigh," he said. "My estimate was right on the money and actually cheaper again than the city's own insurance company's estimate."

City officials won't discuss the specifics of the firing. Friday, neither would the chief, having been advised by an attorney not to make any more comments.

Gapac is rallying behind him.

"The police chief got fired for getting his car repaired correctly, adequately and in a timely manner," he said.

WTOC left a message Friday night with the owner of Burnsed, but that call was not returned before the 11 p.m. newscast. 

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