Garrett Nelson should be at work at Bates Auto Body in North Aurora, Illinois, but instead, he’s in a holding cell with bruised knuckles and a sprained ankle.
Aurora Beacon-News’ local crime reporter, Peter Lazenby, discovered the 38-year-old Nelson sitting by himself in the holding cell, and decided to strike up a conversation.
“It was obvious he had gotten into a fight,” said Lazenby. “He was pretty bruised up. I told him I was a reporter and he said he knew my name because he reads my ‘Pete’s Beat’ police blotter column. Our talk turned into an interview, so I ended up doing a human-interest story on him. Turns out this guy really has led an interesting life. Also the fact that a mechanic was charged with battery – I mean the thing practically wrote itself!”
Lazenby shared a section of the conversation with Empire News.
Peter Lazenby: Do you mind if I ask what happened?
Garrett Nelson: I took a swing at a guy who was trying to tell me how to do my job.
PL: Where do you work?
GN: Bates Auto Body on River Road.
PL: How did the fight start?
GN: I promised to have this guy’s car finished by 3:00, but things got backed up since a school bus packed full of singing nuns broke down right in front of the shop. I spent about 2 hours fixing them up, so then the guy comes back and asks me how come his car isn’t ready.
PL: Did you tell him about the singing nuns?
GN: Yeah, but he said it wasn’t his problem. He was this suit-and-tie guy, on his phone the whole time, kinda rude. Then he says he had a cousin who’s a mechanic and I was working too slow.
PL: Why didn’t the guy just go to his cousin?
GN: That’s what I asked him and it kind of ticked him off. I told him we had a waiting room, but he said he’d rather ‘keep an eye on me out here.’ That’s just how he said it: ‘keep an eye on me.’ Well, that really frosted my ass. What did he think was I gonna do? Take a dump in his car or something? So he keeps on staring, and the next thing I know, I’m swinging at him; he’s swinging at me — he calls the police, but guess who gets stuck in here — me!”
Barrett was charged with simple battery and was confident he would be released soon.
“One customer who comes in to my shop all the time with his hybrid, he’s a lawyer, so I called him up,” said Barrett. He brings his car in at least once a month. God, those hybrids are crap on 4 wheels! Anyway, I heard him say something about ‘dropping the charges,’ so I think I’ll be out of here soon. The guy who I took a poke at left about a half hour ago.”
Barrett was released an hour later in a better mood than when he arrived.
“Hey, am I gonna be famous?” he joked, limping out of the police station. “I never thought I’d be reading about me like this! I might turn into a big-time celebrity!”
“Careful what you wish for!” answered Lazenby.
Lazenby’s full article will appear in this Sunday’s Beacon-News as a special feature to ‘Pete’s Beat.’