City of Memphis won’t pay after traffic light line hits woman’s car

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The City of Memphis says it isn’t liable after a hanging traffic light line damaged a woman’s car last month.

Lena Boyd said she was driving through the intersection at I-240 and Mt. Moriah the morning off September 21 when the line knocked a side mirror off her car and left a scratch on the hood. 

“I was messed up, man. Can you imagine you driving and all of sudden something hits your car? My heart just was pounding so hard, sir, I thought I was fixing to have a heart attack or a nervous breakdown or something,” said Boyd. 

According to estimates Boyd showed WREG, repairing the damage to her car is going to cost at least $1,300. But when Boyd filed a claim with the city, the city denied it and issued the following statement: 

“This claim was denied as the City did not have prior notice of the condition and a reasonable time to repair it before the incident. Under the Government Tort Liability Act (GTLA), there is no liability in that circumstance. When the City found out about the wire being loose, it was immediately repaired.”

“I don’t understand it. I’m very upset and I’m frustrated,” said Boyd.

In February, WREG spoke to another man who was equally frustrated when a traffic light fell on his truck. The city initially denied his claim using the same reasoning it gave in Boyd’s case before finally agreeing to pay a portion of his nearly $4,000 repair bill last week. 

But even if Boyd’s car were repaired, it would take more than money and fresh paint to repair her frayed nerves. 

“I was already scared of going through the bridges ’cause they doing the shooting. Now I’m scared of the lights. I’m trying to go where the lights isn’t. That’s hard to do because everywhere you go it’s some lights,” Boyd said.

Related: Memphis pays driver’s claim for damaged car, reverses original denial

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