CARROLLTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas man says a chance encounter in a construction zone left him with thousands of dollars in damage to his car. Now he’s warning other drivers on the toll roads.
Kirk Launius works full-time for Bubbl, a rideshare company that employs current and former law enforcement officers as drivers on demand.
“The customer I had with me that day is a regular passenger,” Launius said.
He said he was driving along the President George Bush Turnpike near the Josey Lane exit in Carrollton when he spotted a large truck pull out of a construction zone ahead of him. Seconds later, a chunk of concrete flew into his front end.
“It just happened in a flash,” Launius said. “I didn’t have time to react.”
The concrete had lodged itself in Launius’ driver-side headlamp. Launius said he was close to his destination, so he dropped off his passenger before calling police.
“I waited at Old Denton and the George Bush for three hours because I felt it was that important to report this,” he said.
A DPS trooper arrived and filled out a crash report. Launius said his next call was to the North Texas Tollway Authority. That was in November.
“The NTTA has not returned my calls,” said Launius.
CBS 11 reached out to the NTTA. A day later, a spokesman responded by saying the agency would contact Launius. The spokesman blamed the delay on the holidays but said, “that is no excuse.”
Launius took the car to a body shop, which estimated the cost of repairs at close to $3,000. Because he was driving for Bubbl at the time of the incident, the company will pay the bill.
“[The NTTA] needs to address this because I don’t feel it’s right for our company to have to absorb the cost, when this is preventable,” he said.
“We’re paying to drive on the toll roads,” Launius said. “And at times I’ve seen debris, mud, gravel, rocks, out onto the lanes of traffic.”
Launius said the issue is bigger than one piece of concrete. Instead, he’s worried about driver safety in general.
“If it had just been a few inches higher it would have impacted the windshield,” Launius said. “I don’t even want to think about what could have happened.”
In response to a recent email, a spokesperson wrote that NTTA has attempted to contact and leave messages with Bubbl, the third party that now has the claim.
“When we do hear back from Bubbl, we will provide them the contractor’s contact information. The contractor has the responsibility to respond to any valid claim,” the spokesperson wrote.
If your vehicle is damaged in a construction zone, file a police report and contact the construction company. The contractor or company will be the party you will ultimately need to deal with regarding any repairs or reimbursements.
If you don’t know the name of the company, contact NTTA. They may be able to provide the necessary name.