Man who stole vintage Sno-Cat from Minturn ordered to pay $28K for repairs
General Lee's owners lament not being able to use vintage Sno-Cat this winter
EAGLE — Jason Cuervo apparently did have a plan for the Sno-Cat he stole from a parking lot in Minturn.
Cuervo drove the stolen General Lee out of Eagle County to the high desert west of Grand Junction. There he planned to put it on a train and ship it to Alaska.
That’s what one of his social media posts says.
He didn’t make it to Alaska and neither did the General Lee. Law enforcement located them both. The General Lee is back in the hands of its owners, and Cuervo is in the hands of the state corrections system.
However, the strange, sad saga of the stolen Sno-Cat is not over for either Cuervo or the victims of his crime. Cuervo damaged the General Lee in all sorts of ways and was ordered Wednesday to foot the repair bill for $28,583.46. He wrecked the tracks and axles, and screwed up the electrical system when he hotwired it.
The General Lee rests in the parking lot of co-owner Chris Hock’s Denver business, unusable since Cuervo stole it.
“That’s a shame. It was an amazing snow year,” Hock said.
“All this so we can go snowboarding with our friends,” said John Brandenburg, one of the machine’s co-owners.
It’s not ‘South Park’
Brandenburg tweeted that while it sounds like a “South Park” episode, it’s not.
The General Lee’s owners used it Friday, March 16, 2018, and they had planned to use it the following Sunday. It now appears that Cuervo stole the Sno-Cat on Saturday, Hock said.
We know Cuervo drove it because Cuervo texted pictures to his friends. He apparently drove it places the General Lee should not go, and that’s how the tracks and axles were ruined.
We also know Cuervo backed it off the trailer and closed it in the Grand Junction garage where it was found. Along with the General Lee, in that garage police also reportedly found a brand new snowmobile that had been stolen from the Minturn area a couple of weeks before.
In jail, not court Wednesday
Cuervo wasn’t actually in court for Wednesday’s restitution hearing. Last month he started his three-year sentence in a community corrections facility in Lakewood.
Cuervo admitted he stole the General Lee in broad daylight and in a drug-addled state, and towed it along Interstate 70 from Minturn to a neighborhood west of Grand Junction. As police closed in, Cuervo eluded a SWAT team and fled to the Front Range.
A couple of weeks later his mom exercised some serious tough love and told police they could find him at the Jefferson County auto dealership where he was having his small truck’s transmission repaired. He wrecked that hauling the General Lee. Some of his Jefferson County problems stemmed from trying to swap marijuana to cover some of that repair bill.
Drugs made me do it
Cuervo says he has been an opioid addict, and he told Judge Fresquez that drugs are at the root of his behavior problems. Last month’s sentencing was on the one-year anniversary of his sobriety.
Amid a challenging debut, the new whitewater park in Eagle made quite a splash during its opening season in the summer of 2019.