NYC rejects couple’s plea to pay for car that was totaled during NYPD pursuit

A couple residing in Brooklyn is currently engaged in a battle with New York City, urging them to take responsibility and provide compensation for the loss of their car, which was completely wrecked during a high-speed pursuit carried out by the NYPD. Despite their efforts, the Comptroller’s Office has stated that the city is not legally obligated to cover the damages.

Adam Rizer expressed his deep anger to 7 On Your Side Investigates reporter Kristin Thorne, stating that it is challenging to articulate his emotions.

Around 10:30 p.m. on November 10, an undercover police officer was chasing a suspected stolen vehicle on Central Avenue in Bushwick. Eyewitness News obtained surveillance video that captures the undercover vehicle, with its flashing lights, speeding through an intersection. It collides with one car and then crashes into Rizer’s 2021 Jeep, which was parked outside their apartment on Central Avenue. Photos and videos taken at the scene reveal the police vehicle heavily damaged, pressed against Rizer’s car.

Rizer recounted how the police car had such a strong momentum that it forcefully collided with his vehicle, causing it to be lifted onto the sidewalk.

Later on, the NYPD took Rizer’s car to an auto body shop in Williamsburg.

When Rizer and his wife, Elizabeth Rizer, reached out to the city to inquire about compensation for the damages to their car, they were instructed to file a claim with the Comptroller. Additionally, they were informed that they would have to cover the expenses for their own inspector to assess the vehicle at the auto body. In order to proceed, the Rizers spent approximately $200 to hire an inspector who ultimately verified that the car was indeed a total loss.

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The Rizers’ car insurance does not provide coverage for the damages to their car. This is because the couple had opted for liability coverage instead of collision coverage. Adam Rizer explained that they had made this decision a few months prior to the accident due to financial constraints, as they could no longer afford collision coverage.

The Rizers acquired a police report from the NYPD, which states.

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According to the report reviewed by Eyewitness News, the police car is denoted as Vehicle 1, the car that was T-boned by the police is denoted as Vehicle 2, and the Rizers’ car is denoted as Vehicle 3.

According to the report, Vehicle 1 collided with Vehicle 2 while pursuing a possible stolen vehicle. Subsequently, Vehicle 1 collided with Vehicles 3 and 4.

Vehicle 4 was parked on Central Avenue as well.

After weeks of engaging in a back-and-forth exchange with the city Comptroller’s Office, during which the couple diligently provided the office with compelling evidence including surveillance footage of the accident, pictures and videos showcasing the police car colliding with their vehicle, as well as the NYPD police report, the city delivered the disheartening news that they would not be compensating for the damage caused to their vehicle. According to the city, they were not deemed “legally responsible” for the incident.

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In a letter dated January 24, the city informed the couple that their investigation has revealed a potential third party responsible for their loss or injury.

Hertz LLC was then mentioned in the letter as the recommended option for the couple.

Elizabeth Rizer sent an email to the city Comptroller’s Office seeking clarification regarding the third party and the reason behind the city’s referral to Hertz.

In an email response, the case worker stated that Hertz is mentioned as the party responsible for damaging your vehicle in the police report.

According to the Rizers, the NYPD police report they obtained states that Vehicle 2, which was a rental car from Hertz, was involved in a collision with the undercover vehicle. However, the report does not mention Vehicle 2 hitting the Rizers’ car. The only car mentioned as colliding with the Rizers’ is Vehicle 1, the police car.

“It’s the craziest thing,” exclaimed Adam Rizer, as he expressed his disbelief at the notion that what had transpired was being denied.

Elizabeth Rizer captured a video at the site where her Jeep had been damaged. The video reveals a black police sedan parked directly beside her Jeep, without any visible markings.

The city is also declining to reimburse the Rizers $200 for the tow of their car, which was carried out by the NYPD, along with the $2,787 that the Rizers owe in storage fees to the auto body.

Elizabeth Rizer expressed her frustration, stating that these costs are completely wiping them out. She emphasized that they have already been wiped out.

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The Rizers have also had to bear the additional expenses of rental cars and Ubers for transportation to doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, and visiting family in Connecticut.

Eyewitness News contacted the Comptroller’s Office regarding the Rizers’ claim. However, the office stated that they cannot provide comments on claims made against the city.

Kristin Thorne, an investigative reporter for Eyewitness News, reached out to Comptroller Brad Lander’s office to request an interview regarding Rizer’s claim. However, the office declined the interview.

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