MANTECA — A Manteca car dealership employee is under investigation for possible elder abuse after he sold a pickup to an elderly man with dementia, who then was involved in a high-speed pursuit and died hours later of heart failure, authorities said Friday.
Donald Davis, 67, was reported missing from the Manteca Care and Rehabilitation Facility on Eastwood Avenue on Thursday afternoon, according to police Sgt. Ralph Colin.
His family said he’d been talking about buying a car from the Cabral Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Manteca, which is the dealership where his family had purchased cars in the past, Colin said.
Colin said Davis had been negotiating with the dealership from his room at the facility, where he had been for about a week.
When family and Manteca Care staff called the dealership to inquire if Davis had been at the dealership, they were told he had not.
But Manteca police found the dealership’s number in Davis’ room.
Confronted by law enforcement, the agent who sold the car to Davis admitted to picking him up from the care home. Davis was clothed in his pajamas and slippers at the time, Colin said.
Dealership management would not comment on the allegations Friday.
Colin said only the dealership employee, not the dealership, is under investigation.
Davis had reportedly purchased a new full-size Dodge pickup from an employee with whom he had a history. Police offered no other information about the transaction.
Late Thursday afternoon, the pickup was spotted traveling about 90 mph down Interstate 205 near Tracy, Colin said. A California Highway Patrol officer attempted to pull over the vehicle, but Davis began driving faster.
Colin said the pursuit reached speeds in excess of 100 mph before Davis brought the truck to a stop.
Officers noticed Davis was confused and disoriented and took him to an area hospital. He died of heart failure Thursday evening.
“This is one of the worst examples of financial elder abuse I’ve ever heard,” said Mickey Peabody, a member of the Stanislaus County Commission on Aging. “They risked his life and the life of everyone on the road. That is unconscionable.”
Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2366.