LOWELL, Mich. (WOOD) — Used car salesman Terrance Smith will never forget the two customers he had a month and a half ago.
A woman and her husband came in to Betten Baker GMC in Lowell on April 24 to look at a used vehicle. They also wanted to know what their current truck was worth for a possible trade-in.
But Smith said it quickly became clear that the woman didn’t like what the dealership was offering.
“I go outside, I let them know, ‘Hey, (my manager) told me the vehicle is worth $3,500,'” Smith recalled to 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday. “She immediately says, ‘Well, that’s not right. Another place was giving us $5,500.’ Then her husband chimes in and says, ‘Another place was giving us $6,100.'”
Before Smith even had a chance to explain, he said the woman started insulting him.
“She called me a scammer,” Smith recalled. “I said, ‘OK.’ I kind of left that one alone. (Then) she says, ‘You take your scamming black ass back inside and go get my title.’ I said, ‘Ahh, OK, I’m all done.'”
As Smith went back inside, he said she followed him in and things only got worse.
“As soon as I hand her her title, she backhanded me. She hit me so hard (she) knocked the glasses off my face. And she’s still swinging at me. In the midst of all this swinging, she’s calling me the N-word, an f-ing N-word,” he recalled.
Smith admits he cursed at her as she walked out. She and her husband left and the dealership called police.
“I’ve never in my life felt so- I don’t know. It just made me really sad. To know that there’s people out there that are still like that,” Smith said.
The woman involved, identified as Shelly Hueckel of Nashville, was initially only charged with misdemeanor assault and battery.
But after the Lowell Ledger Buyer’s Guide and News published a story about what happened, the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office started getting messages about the case. That prompted another review from police and eventually a new charge was issued against Hueckel: a felony charge of ethnic intimidation, a hate crime.
24 Hour News went to Nashville to get Hueckel’s side of the story, but she refused to comment and told our crew to leave her property.
She faces up to two years in prison if convicted.
“I don’t wish any harm on anyone, including her. But justice definitely needs to be served,” Smith said.
He said he has had to seek counseling in light of what happened.
“For her to get that upset about what her trade is worth, for her to feel that she can treat me that way was just unbelievable,” he said.
Hueckel is due back in court later this month.