Bidder Pays $60k for Fallen Deputy’s Dodge Charger Patrol Car; Magic Happens

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Five years ago, 43-year-old Weld County (Co.) Sheriff’s Deputy Sam Brownlee was killed in a shootout along with a suspect. This week, his 2010 Dodge Charger patrol car came up for auction. The winning bidder purchased it for $60,000, and then did something amazing with the keys.

The auction for the 2010 Dodge Charger patrol car was organized to support COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors) a national organization that offers emotional support services to the families of fallen officers, including Deputy Brownlee’s family.

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Tanner Brownlee was just 15 when his dad was killed in the line of duty, and according to KUSA-TV, says he and his younger brother don’t have much to remember their father. Tanner Brownlee was one of the bidders hoping to win the 2010 Charger.

“Realizing how much this car meant to him, I understand it now, and I want to keep that and hold onto it,” Tanner told 9NEWS before the auction.

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There were many other well-heeled bidders in the audience, though, and the bidding quickly went beyond what Tanner could afford.

The winning bidder — Steve Wells, a rancher who owns thousands of acres of oil-rich land in Weld County — ended up buying the cruiser for $60,000, well beyond its $12,500 used value.

Wells went to the front of the room to collect the keys, immediately turned to Brownlee’s son and said “Tanner, here’s your car.”

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Wells declined to be interviewed after the auction.

About his dad’s police car, Tanner told 9NEWS: “He put time and work into it. He drove it every day, and so to have something like that will be bigger than a lot of things I could have gotten.”

Click any of the photos above to see the 9NEWS piece, and be sure to watch the video extras.


Craig Fitzgerald

Craig Fitzgerald

Writer, editor, lousy guitar player, dad. Content Marketing and Publication Manager at