7 On Your Side: Smashed by a snow plow

YONKERS, New York (WABC) -- A Yonkers resident is stuck and steaming after he says a snow plow smashed his car, then his city won't pay for repairs.

It was in mid-March, the last snowstorm of the season, which dumped eight inches of snow on Yonkers. The street had already been cleared when the Yonkers snow plow operator went by for another pass, spraying and shaking a car in the process.

A video shows a different angle. In it, you can see asphalt on the residential road. The snow plow is down for another pass, rattling the black car as it goes by.

The is what Yonkers resident Paul Roman says was the result, his car's side mirror, completely smashed.

"(It) snapped it which damaged the wiring harness which damaged the motor, the glass and the heating element." Roman said.

He says it caused more than a thousand dollars in damage. So Roman sent the video captured by his own security cameras, asking the city to pay for the repair.

"Are you familiar with that law if they're in an emergency vehicle they're not responsible?" asked Nina Pineda, 7 On Your Side.

"I am now," Roman said.

The City of Yonkers cited state traffic law, exempting it's employees driving emergency vehicles including snow plows from liability, even when there's personal injury.

The only way around the law protecting municipal workers, is to prove they were reckless.

"I clearly thought it was excessive speed and driving too close to the vehicle," Roman said.

The speed limit is 35 on his residential blocked. We showed the video to other Yonkers residents outside City Hall.

"What kind of emergency is that? Who's flying besides the truck in that kind of weather," Roman said.

But after months of trying to get an answer, Roman still didn't know if the city would buck up. He finally got word after 7 On Your Side got involved, his claim was denied leaving him out of pocket more than a grand.

"To find out something is damaged not by a criminal act but for something you pay to have done, and get no compensation is aggravating," Roman said.

The City of Yonkers told 7 On Your Side it denied Paul's claim because of a New York traffic law that states drivers of all government owned or operated vehicles are exempt from the rules of the road.

Roman's only hope? If he proved the plow driver showed "reckless disregard," like it was speeding or did the damage intentionally.

His next option is that he could take the city to small claims court.

The takeaway: if you're able, get your car off the street to avoid plow problems.
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