DENVER - The Interstate 25 tanker truck fire backed up traffic for hours Wednesday and caused damage to passing cars as debris flew across the highway.
One driver drove over large pieces of concrete broken off from the center divider that caused nearly $1,700 in damages.
“I heard it before I saw it," said John Hutsler.
Hutsler was was driving south on I-25 when he saw the diesel fuel truck coming from the opposite direction careen into the center divider. He passed it within seconds but the truck exploded as he drove by.
“I thought I was going to be killed, honestly. I didn’t even think hurt. I thought I was going to be killed," he said.
He is OK and at first glance, so is his car.
“From the outside it does [look OK]," he said. “The underside is pretty trashed.”
He took his Nissan to an auto shop and the mechanic found a smashed catalytic converter and caved in exhaust pipes from the concrete he drove over.
"They were all just scattered into two or three lanes," he explained.
He said he couldn’t avoid the pieces.
“It lifted my car and it sounded, it sounded bad. I could tell some damage was done for sure," said Hutsler.
The total repair cost is $1,687.19.
So who’s on the hook for that bill? Insurance expert Carole Walker said Hutsler is.
“I think the best case for the average driver out there who may have been affected by this situation or any kind of freak accident where your comprehensive coverage would come into play, is really: work with your own insurance company first, and then they’ll help you if anybody else owes you money," she said.
Walker is the executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. She said Hutsler and other drivers with damage from the I-25 incident might get some money back if the tanker truck driver is found liable after a lengthy investigation.
Until then, it’s up to Hutster to pay his deductible to get his car fixed.
“It’s a thousand dollars that I have but it’s a thousand dollars that I really don’t want to spend," he said.
Comprehensive coverage is an option for car insurance policies and not required by law, like liability coverage is. If you're a driver who doesn't have this and your car is damaged by debris or something like hail, you're on the hook for the entire repair bill.
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