OSSINING, New York (WABC) -- It was a bizarre one-in-a-million incident caught on camera: a wayward wheel came off a moving car, dealing a direct hit to a store's sign.
But, who gets the bill for the smashed sign? Especially since the car in question wasn't driven by its owner.
The tape tells the "entire tireless" tale and video shows the wheel come loose from the Jeep Wrangler. There was one big bounce and boom -- there was a direct hit on the hardware sign.
"We saw it bouncing down the street and blast through the sign," said Chip Cohen, owner of Melrose Lumber and Hardware.
The tire and wheel, more than 100 pounds of metal and rubber, ripped the sign clean off its steel frame.
Fortunately, no children were on the sidewalk right down the street from a Westchester school.
"It would have killed one of the kids without a doubt or crushed them," Cohen said.
Cohen has a big chip on his shoulder now. The Wrangler's wheel that leveled his lumberyard's sign fell off a Jeep on a test drive while being fixed at a service station.
But when he asked the owner to pay...
"When the police came, we went down there to see what was going on, they threw us out," Cohen said. "He said, 'I'm not going to pay you the $1,800 for you're sign, I'll give you $200 for it.'"
The garage owner said the same thing, but Chip has a tip for anyone in an accident. He pulled the police report and found a code for the company insuring the Jeep.
"Went online and found out the insurance code was for USAA and then I went and reached out to USAA," Cohen said.
He said USAA wasn't going to pay them the claim with the excuse that the person who owns the car wasn't driving the car.
Melrose Lumber and Hardware has been an Ossining institution since 1921. The fifth-generation owner recently renovated and was proud to put up new store signage, which was not cheap.
"It still has the tire track on it," Cohen said.
USAA told 7 On Your Side the car owner's policy, like most, didn't cover damage when the car was in the care, custody, or control of a mechanic or body shop.
But, after we asked them to take a second look they went above and beyond and paid in full.
"If I didn't call you guys, I never would have gotten my money," Cohen said. "It's the greatest thing, I thank Eyewitness News and Channel 7 for making this happen for me, thank you, Nina."
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