RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — A local grandmother is without a car and possibly on the hook to pay thousands of dollars after police say some juvenile suspects rammed into her car.
On Monday, Benita Williams emerged from her home to find her car, that she previously left parked along the curb, over the curb and onto the grass. Another car was wedged into her front bumper and axle, surrounded by police cars.
“I know they was chasing him,” Williams said. “I know that much.”
Riviera Beach police say investigators with the Criminal Intelligence Tactical Team spotted a vehicle they believed matched the description of a car involved in a shooting the night before.
Police tried to pull the car over and it sped off, according to a police spokesperson. The car then crashed into William’s parked Kia Optima.
Williams' multiple home surveillance cameras caught the crash. What appeared to be three suspects can be seen fleeing in different directions. Police say two juveniles were arrested and an illegal gun was seized.
“I guess I’m going to have to pay for it myself,” Williams said.
Williams' son, who's a mechanic, told her the car is totaled.
The Kia’s engine was smashed and titled to the right by the crash. Williams could not go to work or pick up her three grandkids from school Monday because she was without any transportation. Williams says she rarely misses work at her job of 20 years.
“It's like you work so hard to pay for something now you have nothing, that’s what it feels like,” she said.
Williams' insurance company said her limited policy will not cover the crash because she was not in the car at the time of the incident. Additionally, lawyers consulted by CBS12 News said law enforcement typically are not liable to pay for damage caused during a chase, particularly damage allegedly caused by a suspect.
“I’m pretty much on my own,” Williams said.
Following CBS 12 News' story on Williams, Monday night, the family started a Go Fund Me, after viewers asked to lend a helping hand in repairing her car. Those looking to help can visit this link.
Alan Siegel, a personal injury attorney consulted by CBS12 News, said the suspects’ insurance also may not pay for Williams’ car because the crash happened during the alleged commission of a crime. Insurance policies usually do not cover damage incurred during illegal acts.
Williams’ only recourse will likely be to directly contact the families of the juveniles police say were involved in the crash.
The Riviera Beach Police Risk Management Department are looking into the incident, a police spokesperson said.
As of Monday night, roughly a day after the crash, Williams’ car remained perched on her front lawn, surrounded by wreckage.
She says she can’t afford to have it towed.