INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -- An Independence woman says a snow plow nearly killed her, but nobody’s taking responsibility. After getting stuck paying hundreds of dollars in repairs for an accident she says could’ve been prevented she decided to Call For Action.
Julie Lambirth was driving home from work on southbound Interstate 435 just north of the Wilson Avenue Bridge on a February afternoon when it all happened.
“I had plans after I got of work with my daughter, so that’s all I was thinking about,” Lambirth told KCTV5 News. “I just happened to look up and I saw the plow coming toward the bridge, and the next thing I knew it was just on me.”
The “it” was a massive block of snow that had been plowed off the Wilson Avenue Bridge above her.
“It was like a ton of bricks hitting my car,” Lambirth described. “It just caved in, the glass just shot at me. It was just like driving into a wall.”
Her visibility on the busy highway went away in an instant.
“I suddenly lose all vision. I can’t see anything,” Lambirth explained. “My rearview mirror is down here, so I can see nothing.”
She said the first indication she had of where she was going was when the car went over the rumble strips on the side of the road before finally stopping in the median.
Somehow, Lambirth safely came to a stop, but she was acutely aware of the dangerous situation she was in at the time.
“It could’ve ended so badly. I could’ve spun out, hit other cars. They could’ve hit me,” she said. “I’m just grateful to be alive.”
That gratitude was gone, though, when Lambirth got stuck with a bill for about $300 to replace her windshield. She said she believes the plow driver was in the wrong, but instead of getting help to pay the bill, people started pointing fingers.
Lambirth submitted a claim to Kansas City, but received a letter in response, declining her claim and telling her to go to MODOT.
“The city says it was not their territory, so it had to be MODOT’s truck that caused the problem,” she explained.
When she went to MODOT, though, she wasn’t encouraged by their initial response, either.
“I got the reaction that it was probably my fault,” she said.
KCTV5 News contacted MODOT and city officials to get answers. A spokesperson for MODOT said the agency it is still processing the claim, but a search of the city’s snow plow map indicates the Wilson Avenue Bridge falls under KCMO plow territory. (http://maps.kcmo.org/apps/SnowPlowMap/ )
KCTV5 News asked the city to provide a more detailed explanation for the denial of Lambirth’s claim.
Regardless of which agency ends up taking responsibility for the incident, Lambirth said a resolution for her has to include checks on this not being a problem for someone else.
“I guess I’m just, I want somebody to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”