The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

April 24, 2014

Knoxville will cover some costs after traffic light damage

Following a closed session Monday night, the Knoxville City Council voted to cover a local family’s insurance deductible, and a portion of any rental car fees incurred, after a city-owned traffic light fell on the family’s vehicle on March 27.

The family involved approached the council Monday night to see if the City would pay approximately $6,500 in damages to their vehicle after the incident. When the accident happened, the city immediately contacted its insurance agent to see if the government was liable for these damages. Tonia Sherman with the Iowa Communities Assurance Pool, the City’s insurance agency, wrote to City Manager Harold Stewart on April 1, “In this claim, there were winds of 20-40 MPH. The post came down as a result of the winds. At that time, it was discovered that the base had rusted and was not properly affixed to the ground when installed over 20 years ago. There is no inspection program for the posts, other than walking by and visually inspecting them. With this, there is no negligence on the part of the City for the damage to her vehicle. She has insurance which would cover her claim, but it’s up to her as to whether or not she utilizes it.”

Chris McCombs, husband to the driver of the vehicle at the time of the accident, Brenda McCombs, was concerned about filing a claim with his insurance company. He is under the impression that the claim could increase his family’s insurance costs.

In response to McCombs’ statements Monday night, Stewart said that the city has been maintaining the posts. The maintenance consisted of painting them.

ICAP sent a separate letter to the family on April 2, which said, “After careful review of the situation, we do not believe our member is at fault and therefore, must deny this claim.”

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