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Fort Worth Facing An ‘Act Of God’ Over Street Light

By Selena Hernandez, CBS 11 News
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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The City of Fort Worth has found itself asking, ‘What would Jesus do?’ after one of the city’s street lights fell and damaged a man’s car.

Under Texas law, the city isn’t responsible for the damage. Rather, it’s considered an act of God.

“I just hear this bang, and the car shakes,” Greg Buetel recalled. “I looked in the rear-view mirror and there’s no one behind me and I notice in the street, there’s a huge street light.”

Greg Buetel’s story started an an intersection. A chance stop off 287 and North Tarrant Parkway last month, when he got a sudden jolt from above.

“It caved my trunk and my trunk had to be replaced,” Buetel said. “It also damaged my quarter panel.”

Buetel’s Hyundai Sonata suffered $2000 of damage from the unexpected falling light. Buetel contacted the City of Fort Worth, seeking compensation.

“I filed the claim and then I was told unless they are on sight causing the damage, the state protects them from any liability.”

“It’s an act of God,” Jason Lamers with the City of Fort Worth said.

“Unfortunately, it’s not a city employee that did something wrong or broke something with malice.”

An act of God is something Buetel is familiar with – he is, after all, the pastor of Light the World Church in Keller. Yet, the city’s “act” of not paying for his damage, is something Buetel is willing to forgive. But one he still finds upsetting.

“I don’t have any choice to drive those streets,” Buetel said. “I put confidence in the city that their workmanship doesn’t fall on my vehicle.”

“We need to follow state law,” Lamers said. “State law basically lays out the liability for cities like this, and that law is in place to protect tax payers.”

“In the end, I don’t question God when good things happen -so i don’t question when bad things happen. i just trust he’ll take care of me”

That light has yet to be fixed. The city says it’s looking into it.

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