Car crash victim still waiting for help from city

7:20 PM, Feb 13, 2014   |    comments
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DENVER - When a Denver police officer hit his parked truck and even offered an apology, John Henley assumed the case would be open-and-shut.

"Car hits truck. Truck is damaged beyond repair. There should be processes and rules," Henley said.

The crash happened in the early morning hours of November 29, 2013, when Henley's truck was parked in front of his Monaco Parkway home. Nearly three months later, Henley's truck is still in a tow truck lot and he's still waiting for city officials to help him.

"We have yet to even receive a formal response from the city," Henley said. "It took them two months to send an independent adjuster to look at the vehicle in an impound lot."

Earlier this week, the operator of that lot sent Henley a letter, threatening to put a lien on his truck because it had racked up the maximum storage and towing fees. Henley says the City of Denver should have assumed those fees from the very beginning.

"We went to the city and said 'how is this happening?'" he said.

Henley says a worker with the city attorney's office sent an email agreeing to cover the towing and storage fees for the wrecked truck. But he says he's received little to no communication about the claim that he filed with the city. 

The claim is a standard procedure in cases like this. It is filed with the Denver City Attorney's Office. A representative with the office's litigation section told 9NEWS that his office cannot comment on pending litigation.

"They have 90 days from submission of claim to even give an initial response," Henley said.

The city is still within that 90-day period. But Henley is worried that the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act will protect the city from paying him anything. 9NEWS Legal Analyst Scott Robinson says that type of immunity wouldn't apply to this case. He doesn't expect city officials to try to use that strategy.

Henley says the officer who hit his parked truck told him, at the scene of the crash, that he'd glanced down to look at his laptop. A Denver Police Department spokesperson said the officer underwent a progressive discipline process. 

According to records of that process, the officer said he was looking to his left and made no mention of a laptop computer. The officer received a written reprimand. He was not suspended.

Henley says he's racked up thousands of dollars in legal fees getting help filing his claim. However, he doesn't currently plan on suing the City of Denver.

"I love this city," he said. "[But] I have lost total faith in anything that has to do with city services due to this incident. It's incredibly frustrating."

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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