KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Sevierville man whose pickup truck was heavily damaged by the driver of a stolen garbage truck last month said it will cost nearly $7,000 to fix his vehicle.
The insurance on Bob Crocker’s truck had expired while he was in the hospital for nearly two months. His vehicle insurance ran out in July, the wreck happened in early August.
Crocker, weakened and in bad shape from months of chemotherapy, has a pickup truck that’s in bad shape too after being hit in August.
“They hit it so hard that it crimped up the bed here,” said Crocker.
The 85-year-old widower lives alone and is a Vietnam Navy veteran. The damaged 2011 Ford F-150 is his only vehicle.
“Well, I can’t put the tailgate down. I can’t lower it down. It’s all jammed up,” Crocker said, “The bumper is gone because he hit me doing about 30 miles an hour and knocked my truck way over there in the ditch.”
On August 7, the day of the wreck, a man had hijacked a garbage truck and smashed into a building across from Crocker’s house throwing debris from the store and garbage everywhere. The driver then shot across the street ripping through Crocker’s yard, then slamming into his truck. The front end of the Waste Management truck was pretty much destroyed.
“So everything calmed down. I go to my insurance company. I had just gotten out of the hospital with cancer,” said Crocker.
He had been at LeConte Medical Center for two months from June through July being treated for cancer.
“I was recuperating and I’ll be darned if I didn’t get septic shock. Then I got over that and I got double pneumonia. They said I died twice,” he said.
While he was in the hospital, recovering, his insurance lapsed and he did not know. Seeing the damage to his truck, Crocker called his agent who he’s known for years.
“He said your insurance had expired. I said, ‘oh no.’ So I tried to go to Waste Management. They said they won’t insure me because the truck was stolen,” said Crocker.
Crocker received two estimates on what it would cost to make repairs.
“The cost is… Well, the cheapest one will be $6,500 to fix my truck,” said Crocker.
This estimate includes the cost of a new rear bumper, new trailer hitch as well as repairs to the tailgate and frame.
“The other guy wanted $11,000,” said Crocker. “If I could get 65 to fix my truck, I would be happy.”
He can still drive the truck, but he’d like to be able to open the tailgate so he could use the bed.
“If Waste Management would help me out on this. Their truck hit my truck,” said Crocker.
WATE contacted Waste Management. In a statement, the company wrote that it was empathetic to the damage to Cocker’s truck. However, WM is awaiting results from the police investigation before making any final decisions.
Crocker told WATE he just needs his truck fixed.
“Yeah, that’s all I want. I need some help,” said Crocker.
Crocker said he’s been an independent guy all his life and he’s not out for charity. He said his truck was just parked at the wrong place, in front of his house.