PSI: 'A ten foot paint job'

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Ronnie Presnell sees more with his hands than most people see with their eyes.

Tapping around with a stick he lead us into a his garage located a dozen, or so steps from his house. He opened the door and walked us past one of his prized possessions.

"This is a '68 Camaro," said Presnell. "This is the one I drove around Charlotte Motor Speedway."

He did take it around the racetrack about a year-and-a-half ago with the help of NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace. What makes it remarkable is Ronnie blind. He has been since 1998.

Ronnie was on-duty with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office when the cruiser he was driving was crushed by a delivery truck that crossed the center line.

He nearly died, he spent six weeks in a coma. He came out of it, without his vision.

"You all just tell me when to stop," said Ronnie as he pushed his newest baby out of the garage. A 1967 Chevy Nova SS.

"They didn't make, but so many of these cars," said Presnell.

Cars are a big deal to Ronnie.

"Ever since I was 14 (years old), I've crawled all over them," said Presnell.

He fixed them, he raced them. In fact, he took his last checkered flag just days before that fateful crash.

Ronnie said he'd been searching for a car like the Nova for years. Finally found one in south Charlotte and bought it up. By feel and touch he rebuilt the engine himself. His wife would help by handing him the occasional socket wrench.

The car needed a cool paint job to make it perfect. Presnell hired a company called "Yesteryears Custom Creations." He pad $6100 to paint it and put it back together. He was told the work would tax six weeks.

"Brought it back nine months later," said Presnell.

And there were issues. Uneven gaps in the body pieces, scratches on the hood and specks were in the paint.

"That's what we call a 10 foot job," said Chris Potter.

Potter owns Smitty's Auto Body in Mooresville. He saw the car up close.

"From 10 feet away you can't see any of the flaws. It looks beautiful" said Potter. "Up close you can see some of the flaws."

The likely culprit of the specks under the clear coat, dirt in the paint gun. It's what Potter said, it's what another paint shop owner said. It's also what a rep for the paint company said. All of them looked at the car.

"I feel like he took advantage of me knowing that I can't see," said Presnell.

We contacted the owner of "Yesteryears." Steve Johnson said Ronnie's car needed a lot of body work and it's typical for debris to blow up into the paint. He said he had photos of the holes in the body he repaired, but he didn't show them to WBTV.

"I would rather him just give me my money back and I'll find me a painter," said Presnell.

Johnson said he wouldn't offer a refund. He told us Presnell got what he paid for.

"Basically he paid for nothing," said Keith Ward.

Ward owns "Keith's Restoration & Rod Shop" in Mocksville. "Either the guy just really didn't know what he was doing, or didn't care," said Ward.

Ward now has the car in his shop. He is going to strip the paint and the straighten all the parts. Ward says it's about $10,000 worth of work. He's going to do it for about half the price.

"It's going to be perfect," said Ward.

It should be ready in a couple months.

"I can't wait to ride in it," said Presnell.

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