Local News

Hundreds Turn Out at Auction to Benefit N.C. Schools

Posted August 27, 1999

— There was no shortage of eager bidders at the used car auction in Harnett County. Hundreds of people turn out to buy vehicles that were seized from repeat DWI offenders.

"A lot of people need cars, and they're not able to buy one at a dealer, so they come out here where you get a good deal," says Jeff Burke, who bought a 1978 pickup truck for $600.

The state has seized more than 5,000 vehicles from repeat DWI offenders since 1997. About 100 vehicles are seized each week in North Carolina.

School districts are supposed to profit when the cars are sold at auctions. But some are actually losing money. Profits from the auctions are supposed to benefit local school districts. But the average selling price for these vehicles is only about $500, which is less than it costs to tow and store the vehicles.

Under a new state-wide contract, every car that's seized will be brought to the lot in Harnett County, and sold to bargain hunters. State educators hope the new contract will also help school districts pocket a profit.

"And so the statewide contract is basically taking that burden away from them, putting it in the hands of somebody who is used to dealing in this kind of business, in the towing and storage business," said Derek Graham of the Department of Public Instruction.


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