NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio-- A local fire truck smashed into a car leaving it totaled in a parking lot, but the car owners are getting only $250 from the city where it happened, the FOX 8 I-Team learned.
A North Ridgeville fire truck ripped open the side of a car parked outside a grocery store even with the driver sitting behind the wheel.
“At first I didn’t know what was going on. Bunch of metal crunching. Tin wrinkling. It rocked the car. It moved the car out of the space that I was in," Ron Fisher said.
The fire truck was not racing to a call, but the city of North Ridgeville is getting away without paying for what happened.
“I don’t think it’s right. I think they should definitely be held accountable," Fisher said.
“I kept hearing in the background. 'Don’t worry. The City of North Ridgeville’s gonna take care of this,'" said Sherry, Fisher's wife.
Then she got a check for $250. On the check, she saw a note calling this the city’s, “Full and final settlement.”
The I-Team went to North Ridgeville City Hall. We asked the safety director wouldn’t the city’s insurance take care of a fire truck totaling a car?
“Not necessarily because of the law’s in the state of Ohio," Jeffry Armbruster said.
Later, the mayor told us, he’s right. Mayor G. David Gillock said Ohio law protects cities in crashes like these. Your insurance has to pay. The cities pay only your deductible.
“It just doesn’t seem fair when the city’s obviously responsible. But that’s the way it works under statutory immunity. That’s the law," Gillock said.
Meantime, the safety director said the fire truck driver did not get a ticket. No ticket since the crash happened on private property and the fireman wasn’t drunk.
We wondered if he could he get hit with some internal discipline. The safety director said yes, but that firefighter is already fighting it.
The owners of the car said they feel like victims—twice.
They could take the city to court. They could take it all the way to trial, trying to force the city to cover the costs or they could hope to work out some kind of settlement.
“I said, you know, I’m not done with this," Sherry Fisher said.