7Investigates: DCR worker at fault in year old car crash, state yet to pay for damages

BOLTON, MASS. (WHDH) - A state worker hit her car, causing thousands of dollars in damage. But more than one year later, she’s still waiting to get paid for the repairs.

Jill Rogers bought her son a used convertible as his first car, and they fixed it up together. He’d only been driving it a few months when another driver slammed into him in a parking lot in Bolton last fall.

“He was waiting to take a left into a parking spot, and the guy didn’t see him and just drove right into him,” Roger said.

The man that hit him was driving a state vehicle and was working for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. According to the police report, the DCR worker said he didn’t see the convertible as he was backing out of a parking space.

Now, Rogers’ car’s windows don’t roll up, and the passenger door won’t open. It’s going to cost more than $7,000 to fix it all.

“It’s unsafe to drive,” Rogers said.

Rogers filed a claim with the state the very next day. Then, nothing, for weeks and months. She finally got an email back seven months later.

“And the return email was, ‘There’s a backlog. Too bad,’” Rogers said. “I don’t know what their process is now. It doesn’t seem like they really have one.”

When 7 Investigates contacted DCR, the agency said it’s not even required to respond to claims that it receives. The department said if it doesn’t respond within six months, that means the claim is denied. So DCR essentially denied Rogers’ claim by simply ignoring her.

“It bothers me that they think that it’s OK just to treat people like this,” Rogers said.

“I absolutely was shocked when you brought this to my attention,” said state Sen. Anne Gobi, D-Spencer, who chairs the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, which oversees DCR.

DCR refused to give out any information about how many claims it gets or how many payments it’s made.

Gobi said the department is not being transparent. She’s considering requiring the department to – at the very least – respond to every claim it gets.

“It’s really time to take a look at the policy that you have in place right now and the policy needs to be changed,” Gobi said.

Rogers doesn’t want to pay for repairs until the state agrees to pay her. As she ponders legal action, weeds are starting to sprout around her damaged car, which has been parked in the same spot for an entire year.

“It seems very inefficient. It seems like a not very nice way to treat constituents of Massachusetts,” Rogers said.

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