Be very careful with this

By his response, the sheriff has already given you some really important information. If the sheriff said this is a civil matter, then that means NO LAWS WERE BROKEN. That means Mr. Mechanic didn’t do anything wrong as the law interprets the situation. You have a lot more “burden of proof” against you if this goes to civil court. This is what I was trying to explain earlier. While there are things that coulda/shoulda/woulda been done differently in this situation to keep everyone happy, apparently the sheriff has already concluded that Mr. Mechanic was within his rights as determined by local, county and/or state law. So if you took this to civil court, you’d have to prove you were harmed by his following the law, and/or that he had malicious intent. My knowledge of civil court decisions falls off in a big hurry, and an attorney would be better able to advise you. But you’ve already got two strikes against you on this one – the truck wasn’t important enough to make the effort to go check on it, and no laws were broken. As I understand civil law, you’re really going to have to work at it to claim damages after the fact. Yes, this could have been handled a lot better than it was, but he followed the law. That’s all he HAD to do. With him as defendant and you as plaintiff, get ready to spend a lot more on this than the truck was probably worth.