By Connor Lynch
BROWNSVILLE — After a long night in the barn — arriving at midnight and starting milking at 2 a.m. — dairy farmer Derek Buchner was ready for breakfast and sleep. The 31-year-old pulled up to the milkhouse in his pickup truck at his Brownsville-area farm in Oxford County at 7:15 a.m.
He went in to grab some milk for breakfast. He left his white 2012 Chevrolet Silverado, about four feet away, with the engine running.
He wasn’t out there for more than a few minutes when another truck drove the 100 or so metres up the lane. A passenger hopped out and the truck drove off. Buchner poked his head out and saw someone sitting behind the wheel of his truck. At first he thought it might be one of his nephews, then saw it was a strange, young woman. The thought struck: “She’s stealing my truck!”
He ran outside as the truck pulled away and grabbed two door handles on the driver’s side. With one hand on each handle, Buchner held on as the truck made a U-turn on the frozen gravel laneway and straightened out, heading for the road. The doors flew open as it turned. He held on for dear life.
“It was all I could do to keep my feet under me,” he later recalled. He ran alongside the truck in the running shoes he wears to the barn. A frightened Buchner yelled at the driver to stop. The terrified driver yelled to let go. But he couldn’t. At this speed he would go flying.
After pulling through the turn, the truck stopped after carrying the farmer for 80 feet. Buchner reached in and grabbed the keys. The shaken young woman explained that she needed a truck because she had no way to get home. Buchner pulled out his cellphone and called his uncle who happened to be in the house. When he arrived, she tried to make a run for it, trying to squeeze past Buchner on the driver’s side. But Buchner caught her by her coat. His uncle stood in front of her, holding her by the arms and trying to get her to calm down as she yelled for him to let her go. Buchner called police.
“It was quite the experience,” he said. He was shook up but not scraped up. “Could’ve ended a lot worse, for sure.” With the benefit of hindsight, Buchner said he wouldn’t do it again.
“It’s just a truck. That’s what you have insurance for. It was just a reaction. I didn’t even really think about what I was doing.”
OPP charged 29-year-old Brittney Partlo, of Ingersoll, with theft of a motor vehicle. She was to appear in court in Woodstock.
WESTERN ONTARIO: Farmer stops truck theft by hanging on to truck for dear life
By Connor Lynch