JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A driver turns to the I-TEAM for help when she says the city of Jacksonville stopped returning her calls after providing dashcam video to the city's Risk Management Department of her car being hit and damaged by a metal cap that flew off the side of a JFRD fire truck.
"I was quite surprised when I saw something fall off the fire truck on the left-hand side," said Renee McKinney while showing the I-TEAM video recorded on her dashcam.
The Southside resident says in her opinion, the video evidence is undeniable, and she wonders why the city, at first, refused to pay for the damage.
McKinney says she was driving eastbound on JTB towards the St. Johns Town Center behind a JFRD fire truck in the slow lane when a metal object flew off the truck in front of her and slammed into her bumper.
"I actually saw it fall off and make its way into the street -- hitting my car," McKinney said.
She explained the impact startled her and forced her to pull over to the side of the highway. That's when she noticed the damage to her car's front bumper, but at the same time, she was thankful because she knew it could have been much worse.
According to AAA, in 2017 alone, 37 percent of deaths on U.S. Highways were related to flying debris.
"It did a little over $1,000 worth of damage to my car, to the front bumper," she said as she showed News4Jax photos of the damage. "If this object would have hit my windshield it would have been a totally different story right now."
McKinney said she contacted the city's Risk Management Department and shared her dashcam video -- asking her insurance claim be paid.
But in a series of emails obtained by the I-TEAM, a city employee writes, "I could not tell what that (object) was." In another email the worker writes, "I have sent your video to several people here and they do not see anything come off the truck."
That worker goes on to write, "I am sending it to a couple of other folks to see if they can view it better on their computers ... I promise I will advise you one way or the other."
McKinney said the city did eventually identify the fire truck that may have lost its cap, but after the city spokesperson told her this, she says the contact with the city ceased.
"This bothered me. It bothered me that it happened. It bothers me that it could have been worse and I feel there was no one else to tell this to except for the I-TEAM" said McKinney.
The day after the I-TEAM contacted the city of Jacksonville, McKinney said the same city worker had been in contact with informed her the city was willing to pay her claim.
She still wants people to be aware of the many dangers on the road and how important video evidence can be.
"I want to raise some awareness for people driving on the highway," she said. "This happened to me, this was very scary."
If your car is hit by flying debris from a vehicle but you don't have a video to prove it, safety experts suggest you ask a passenger in the car to take a cell phone picture of the vehicle responsible. If possible, also have the passenger write down the license plate and take any other pictures of the scene.
It's also suggested you file a police report if you have the identifying information for the vehicle responsible for the damage. Renee McKinney says she did not call police but said she wished that she had.
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