County refuses to pay damages from ice storm

FOX 5 I-Team

County refuses to pay damages from ice storm

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ATLANTA -

It's been more than a month since many Atlantans parked on the roadside and decided it was better to walk than to try to drive on icy roads. It's a memory for most of us. But for Kelly Dumais and her husband Scott, they're still dealing with it.

It was five weeks ago Ms. Dumais had to leave her car and do what lots of people had to do January 28th – take off for home on foot. It was a seven-mile trek.

Her husband remembers teary phone calls from one miserable lady, "She was in her running shorts and a t-shirt. She was very uncomfortable."

So the half marathoner did what she knew how to do, she ran most of the way. But she made it. It was over. At least that chapter. When they went to get the car after the thaw they found an abandoned Cobb County school bus had pined into theirs. 

Scott Dumais said, "I laughed at first; it was funny. I very naively said, ‘I guess that's better than a hit and run by another car'. I was thinking this will be easy to get fixed.

But here they are five weeks after the accident and the car still has significant damage down the driver's side. A repair shop estimate shows it'll cost $3,234.13 to fix the car hit by a school bus, but getting it fixed has hit a roadblock. About a week in, Dumais says it dawned on him the county was stalling.

"We had been waiting to get a response and we hadn't gotten very many."

Then, they got a letter from the county's risk management department, and it was very clear. The county believes the accident was caused by the weather, an "Act of God," not driver negligence, so the county wrote that it would invoke its right to claim "Sovereign Immunity." Which means, the county won't pay to fix the car.

"They've sent a letter and have avoided all my communications since," said Dumais.

So the I-Team tried. Through a spokesman we were told that 25 car owners got that same letter. About Kelly Dumais's case, we were told, "We are going to look at each case individually and make the determination based on the merits of the claim."

So does that mean there is some wiggle room? We don't know. Nobody will commit. In the meantime, they say their insurance company has agreed to cover the damages.

While the rest of us get ready for a warm spring weekend, Scott and Kelly Dumais are still caught in the winter storm that won't seem to end.

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