by Allen Williams
In October of 2017 I was returning from a trip On US 64 which brought me through Louisville, Kentucky. Just about a half to three quarters of a mile before the Shively 264 exit, I was bumped in my rented 2017 Chevy Impala by an individual in some sort of green sports car. I saw him or her swing in behind me from an angle consistent with someone entering the highway from an on ramp.
It looked to be a woman or guy with long hair from my rear view mirror who fell in behind me after the hit and slowed down. I had expected him to pull in behind me after the bump event. I signaled to pull over to the shoulder where we could exchange insurance information. I stopped on the shoulder about 100 yards from the Shively 264 exit. Instead of pulling directly in behind me, the guy sped away on the 264 exit just as traffic began to back up at the Shively exit. However, I got his license number '840 CAL' before he fled the scene. Looking at the rental vehicle right side damage, the collision was consistent with an onramp entry and appeared to be more that $500.
Two Louisberg police officers showed up about a minute or so after the individual sped away. I thought they might have witnessed the accident but instead they began clearing debris off the Shively exit to free up traffic. Lacking a working cell phone I was unable to contact the police. One female officer at the scene I attempted to talk with said they were 'super busy' and that another patrol car would be coming. At that point, she and an accompanying officer jumped into their cars and left the scene. I waited 30 minutes at the Shively exit for the promised patrol car but it never showed. I then left and continued my journey home. The next day, I filed a Kentucky Civilian Traffic Collision Report with the state police.
The civilian traffic collision report I filed is a joke. It gets no identifying number after it's filed; nobody appears to do anything with the report. It's likely a convenient archive that allows insurance adjusters to determine your 'risk' factor in premium assignments. Otherwise, it's a worthless document for anyone who has filed it.
After I arrived back home I called the Kentucky state police but they wouldn't run the license plate I recorded. They suggested that I talk to Louisville police at Division 4 of Jefferson County. So I called there and the officer tells me they don't have jurisdiction and they wouldn't run the plate because I'm not a law enforcement officer or an insurance representative. They suggest I call the Jefferson County DA. So I talk to a Jefferson County assistant DA who tells me that I cannot file a criminal complaint over the phone and that I would have to return to Kentucky. Neither would they accept my complaint in a notarized letter. Only a local lawyer could file my complaint, I was told. I believe the reader can see where this might be going.
Talking to a number of lawyers in the Loiuisville area that handle auto accidents revealed a host of solutions for the hit and run accident I was involved in but none of them were viable. I should point out that few attorneys called me back the same day as either business was exceptionally good or the amount of damages I experienced wasn't sufficient to peak their interest.
One attorney suggested that I file a civil action to recoup the rental losses. But unfortunately, even if I returned to Kentucky and filed a civil and criminal action, I was told that the accused could simply deny it. (The perpetrator obviously didn't have insurance which was why the person fled to begin with). Another lawyer said paying the damages myself (or my insurance company) would be cheaper than hiring a lawyer to resolve the issue. What this translates to is unless there's sufficient money in play because of an incident we're not interested in pursuing it even if it's a felony. Remember that statement because it's nothing more than 'pay to play' and even if you win the civil suit it's doubtful that you'd be awarded attorney's fees. it's characteristic of the endemic corruption in America's legal system. You'll understand this a bit further down.
My personal favorite was a local lawyer who advertises 'How to Get a Car Accident Report or Police Report in Kentucky'. Nothing gauche about tooting your own horn. The process is actually quite simple, "There is a company that has a website to handle requests for car accident reports for Louisville and all of Kentucky. The website is called www.buycrash.com (www.buycrash.com/Public/Home.aspx). There is a fee for each accident report that can be paid by credit card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover, or American Express) or PayPal...Written requests need to be addressed to the Kentucky State Police post that worked the accident. Written requests should include a self-addressed stamped envelope and a $5.00 check or money order payable to Kentucky State Treasurer...If you believe another person was responsible for your car accident in Louisville or elsewhere in Kentucky, you may want to contact a Kentucky attorney to assist you with filing a claim or pursuing a lawsuit..You can contact Brett via email or call (502) 749-5700, toll free (866)935-5729.."
So the lawyer's advertisement suggests that what I experienced outside Louisville is quite common in the area. His site has a
number of testimonials from happy satisfied clients So there you have
it, if the monetary damages are sufficient to make it worthwhile for the
attorney then a claim will be pursued. Apparently the same condition
applies to the Jefferson county D.A. Never mind that a particular law
has been violated, after all we break the country's laws every day where
immigration is concerned.
One final call to the Jefferson County DA to suggest that their office pursue the criminal charge against the individual who fled the accident scene as it was at least a Class C misdemeanor. (My guess is it wouldn't be a felony unless it was something like $5000 or more in damages) The assistant DA that I talked to said they don't pursue individuals and that I would have better luck with a civil complaint through an attorney. Now the DA had to know that a civil complaint against an individual without auto insurance was futile so his recommendation was more 'pay for play' rhetoric.
I retorted with 'I bet if I robbed a bank and someone got my license you’d run it. That’s no different than someone leaving the scene of an accident.' There was complete silence from the assistant D.A. I thought he had hung up. He reiterated that there was nothing he could do and so the call ended.
Travel through Kentucky at your own risk.