Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Something's rotten in Denmark

My sitter runs an awesome MMO program and Preschool. Or at least, she used to until a Waste Management garbage truck drove into her building. THANK GOD NO ONE WAS IN THE BUILDING AND SHE WAS CLOSED THAT DAY!! Get this, WMI arrives on the scene first. We know this because the owner of the day labor place across the street came out and saw just WMI people present - more than just the two guys that would have been on the truck. Then the police arrive. The police do not do a sobriety test and only list one occupant in the truck on the police report. (problem #1: WMI generally has TWO guys on these trucks. I know I've never seen one w/o two guys.) When the truck hit, it broke the sewer line to the building, and set off the sprinkers - ruining everything. If it didn't get covered in sewage, it got soaked. The building was basically demolished. The City has condemned it. This happened around 6:30 -7 a.m. and by 8:00 am the truck has been removed from the property(problem #2 - you know when Joe Driver can't find the brake and drives into a building that car stays there all day and the accident it thoroughly investigated). No one contacted my sitter or the owner of the building - that info is on file with the local fire department. (problem #7). The police officer who arrived on the scene looked inside the building (w/o entering it) claims to have seen sparks and water and does not go in (rightfully so). However, he does not call the Fire Department or an Ambulance (for the driver who supposedly had a seizure and supposedly went to the hospital). What if someone had been in there early and was unconscious, or God forbid, dead? (that's problem #3). Also, the officer, having seen the sparks, does not call the power company or the gas company (problem #5) My sitter was notified of this b/c one of her employees drove by to get something she left. This was about 8:00 a.m. and the truck was gone already. No one was there except for a couple of WMI personnel to watch the big gaping hole in the building. (problem #4) By the time my sitter arrives and is told what happened, she has to call the police to come back and tell her what's up. Next, she calls The Progenitor to come by and help deal with folks. He does what he can, including getting someone in his office to help my sitter since this is not his area of expertise. *In the meantime, she calls an electrician she knows to get the power turned off. She takes a zillion photos. The gas company came around 2:00p.m at her request. She had no idea that no one had been called to turn off the utilities (problem #5). Also, she had to call the police to come back and the officer didn't come until noon. Same officer that was at the scene in the morning. He was unhelpful and wouldn't tell her much about what happened. Just that the driver had apparently had a seizure, what he saw when he looked in, and that he didn't call the FD. He never mentioned that WMI staff was on the scene and when asked whether they had permission to remove the truck when they did, he faltered in his answer. WMI is taking responsibility, but she's looking at lost business, lost money b/c she paid for the build out (and that was NOT cheap), potential lost clients, lost income, etc. Her employees will have lost income and her clients have lost sitters and have to make other (last minute) arrangements. She also has to look for temporary digs as fast as possible in order to keep her clients, and employees - something very difficult to do on such short notice. The landlord had a fit and was screaming at her about this! Blaming her for not being notified, etc. Progenitor put a quick stop to that. This landlord is going to do whatever possible to recoup his losses, and I am sure he will try to deny my sitter anything for her buildout expenses (he's a jackass) by claiming the buildout himself. She has some receipts, but much of her documentation was destroyed in the crash. She'll have to get in touch with all the contractors for the invoices. WMI is accepting responsibility and they've sent recovery people out to clean up, but they are saying they won't pay for any of her monetary losses until she's back up and running (and they mean in the building). WTF! That could be months to a year from now. And I just know her landlord will try to make her pay rent in the meantime. I'm hoping there is a claus in the lease that protects her from that. Otherwise, she's really screwed b/c even though this it completely beyond anything that could be predicted, I can see the landlord making things even worse for her by trying to collect rent. (Not that he really could, but his attempts will make things even worse for her.) So, the police report says there was one occupant in the vehicle. And we don't know how "the driver" got to the hospital. My guess is that WMI people "took" him there, but there's no telling at this point. Also, the story being told about how it happened doesn't mesh with the tire marks and some other clues (problem #6). Also, there was no accident investigation whatsoever and it looks tome that WMI's driver was removed from the scene of the accident - even though the police report indicates a driver at the scene, I have a feeling the got the actual driver out of there before the police arrived. I just can't believe that an honest or competent officer would let this go like that. She needs to demand a full investigation including WMI's records about who was on the truck (timesheets anyone?), but if the PD won't do it, her lawyer will have to. My sitter was up all night from nightmares about this happening when the kids were there. It's completely nerve wracking for her. I just hope her clients are patient while she tries to find temporary digs. I know that one or two will immediately insist on their money back for the month - leaving her stuck with the loss until the insurance company bothers to pay up. This just sucks. I'm only inconveneinced and will have to claim for lost time for picking up the boys and finding temporary childcare, but she's looking at losing her business if the insurance company decides to really fight her on making interim payments. I feel so bad for her.

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