Searcy man files lawsuit after Hertz falsely reports his rental car stolen

Category: Hertz False Arrest Lawsuits

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A Channel 7 Investigation earlier this month raised questions about the stolen vehicle report on a rental car that led to the officer-involved shooting of Bradley Blackshire in Little Rock last month. Since then, KATV has learned of a lawsuit filed here in Arkansas against that same rental car company, that tells a similar story.

Searcy resident, Jonathan Olivares, was on his way to Houston in March of 2018, when just outside Shreveport, Louisiana, he saw flashing blue lights in his rear-view mirror.

“They yelled and screamed – get out of the car, put my hands up,” recalled Olivares.

According to the lawsuit filed originally filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court by Olivares’ attorney earlier this month, it wasn’t until Olivares was handcuffed that he was informed the car his company had rented for him from Hertz, had been reported stolen.

“I had a valid corporate lease agreement – what I thought was,” claimed Olivares.

Olivares was arrested on a felony auto-theft charge and booked into the Caddo Parrish Correctional Center.

“I was in a cell the size of a bathroom with two other inmates,” said Olivares.

He likely would have stayed in jail longer had it not been for his girlfriend getting in touch with his employer, who bonded him out of jail the following day.

The day after Olivares was released from police custody, he received a phone call from Hertz corporate offices, explaining they were aware of the incident, were looking into how it happened and that they would work quickly to get him his belongings that were confiscated with the car by police.

Days after the initial call, Olivares said he received a follow-up call from the same person saying they had made a mistake.

“Same lady called back and said we’re going to take full responsibility for this,” said Olivares. “There had been an error – the car had been inadvertently reported stolen.”

Turns out that Olivares isn’t the first person this has happened to. A 2018 investigation by Philadelphia ABC affiliate WPVI, reported on two women arrested with similar claims to Olivares – all linked to Hertz. The attorney representing the two women, and now several dozen others, claimed the issues all stem from an outdated computer system.

“They’re still having issues,” said Olivares. “They’re still having issues with their records.”

Olivares said within the last six months, he’s received several calls from Hertz representatives still asking if he has the car that was falsely reported as stolen.

To date, Hertz has been named in similar litigation in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Texas, Wisconsin and Indiana. Now you can add Arkansas to the list.

“It’s something that should have never happened,” said Olivares. “It shouldn’t have.”

Olivares said he is now on anti-anxiety medication, worried he’ll be pulled over again for the same situation. He said the incident has affected him both personally and professionally, without the ability to have his record expunged in Louisiana because the state doesn’t allow the practice.

The lawsuit has since been removed to federal court at the request of Hertz attorneys. KATV reached out to Hertz media relations for comment on this story, but both a phone call and e-mail went unreturned.

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