SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- On Wednesday morning, Joe Lafferty was shocked to find out his car had been hit by a stolen vehicle and then caught on fire.
The wreck occurred right outside the Paul Mueller Company where Lafferty works. As soon as he heard his truck was in flames, he ran out to it.
"I was trying to put the fire out but I couldn't put it out because it was too hot and I was afraid I was going to get myself hurt," he said. "I had to walk away and just let it burn."
Lafferty said the truck meant much more to him than metal, glass and a means of transportation. He said the truck had a legacy and it was like a part of the family.
"That truck has been a part of my family's life since I was 11 years old and my grandpa bought it new," he said.
Lafferty's grandpa and father have been gone for some time. The truck still holds their memories, he said.
He has been restoring the truck for several years now. And as it burned, he said he saw more than just a truck in flames.
"What I saw was my dad, my grandpa and uncles who helped make me who I am today. They were the ones on fire," Lafferty said.
Police chased the juvenile who crashed into the truck. He ran from the scene, but officers tracked him down later that morning.
Lafferty said he is upset with the driver, but he also feels sorry for him.
"If that kid would have had a dad like I did, the grandpa I had, and the uncles that I had, he wouldn't have been doing what he was doing out there."
Lafferty said he is not sure if he will be able to repair the truck and bring its memories back to life, but he said he will try. He said there are some parts of the vehicle that survived the fire, giving him a sense of hope.