CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Rock Manchin's father gave him a blue metallic Corvette in late 1974 when he turned old enough to drive.
"My father's goal was to get everyone of us kids a car when we got old enough to drive," Manchin said. "But we were expected to take good care of it."
And Manchin, the youngest brother of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, kept the promise for a remarkable 36 years.
Until earlier this month.
When cruel fate intervened.
And the car wound up stolen.
And smashed into ruin.
Just days after Manchin had the beauty repainted.
Although he's disappointed by the carelessness that ruined his beloved Corvette, Manchin, a 52-year-old Farmington resident, is also philosophical.
"I was sad to see what happened to my car, but it's just a vehicle," said Manchin, who is one of the owners of WCO Flooring America in Farmington.
The vintage car was stolen on a Friday evening, Feb. 4, from a garage next to Manchin's house. He had been remodeling that house and was using its garage to store his car.
"I was in the hot tub at about 9:30, and all of a sudden the garage door in the house next to me goes up," he said.
Manchin wasn't too concerned at first. He often loans the vehicle to some of his nephews. But as the Corvette began pulling out of the driveway, Manchin's wife came out of the house and asked him who was taking the car.
At that point, it dawned on them that the car was being stolen. Manchin's wife began chasing the Corvette down the driveway.
Police soon took over the chase as the suspect fled south on U.S. 250 into Fairmont.
The pursuit ended abruptly when the car crashed into a tow truck in Fairmont. Both the Corvette and the tow truck were badly damaged.
"I'm just glad no one was killed," Manchin said.
Police arrested Ronnie Lee Long, 38, of Morgantown and charged him with grand larceny, according to the criminal complaint filed with the Marion County Magistrate Office. He is being held in the North Central Regional Jail on $250,000 bond.