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Couple tries to claim vehicle damages from New York State due to rough stretch of I-90

Posted at 11:28 PM, Aug 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-09 23:28:10-04

EDEN, N.Y. (WKBW) — Mike Papaj and Christie Abbott are proud snowbirds. The couple uses it's RV to make the trek to and from Florida. When they returned home in April they realized some problems with the RV. Papaj said the damage happened driving through the rough stretch of road on I-90 that passes through the Seneca Nation.

"It's just deplorable, it's like a war zone," he said.

He went to Camping World to get the damage assessed, and came out with an over $4,000 estimate. Camping World wrote on the receipts that severe jarring caused hydraulic and generator damage. Abbott said she saw the jarring occur on the rough stretch of I-90.

"I was following him in a pickup truck behind him, and I saw that motor home rocking, and saw him put on the brakes," she said.

They submitted a vehicle damage claim to the New York State Thruway Authority, and included the Camping World receipts along with detailed descriptions of what happened. The Thruway Authority responded that it doesn't pay claims unless legal liability is clearly established, and that in this case it was not.

All of this occurred before Rep. Tom Reed (NY-23) sent a letter to Albany last week alerting the state of the road's defective condition.

"This is not a rough road, this is a dangerous road, and now the state is on prior written notice of it," he said.

According to Reed, that prior written notice is a way of holding the state accountable.

The Eden couple said the jarring road is also jarring their wallet.

"We'd like to have the damage covered," Abbott said.

The Thruway Authority said it could not comment on specific cases due to privacy issues when asked why it was not liable in this case. It added that drivers are warned to go 45 mph in that area with a rough road sign.