New Mexico City Refuses To Pay For Damage From ‘Bait’ Car

August 30, 2013

  • August 30, 2013 at 1:14 pm
    david says:
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    So according to the city of Albuquerque, drunk driving thieves in a residential neighborhood that crashed into someones house causing $11,000 in damage are NOT a threat to public safety?

  • August 30, 2013 at 1:25 pm
    bob says:
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    david, the question has nothing to do with whether it was a threat. the question is whether the city was negligent, and therefore liable for the damages.

    • August 30, 2013 at 1:33 pm
      insurance is fun! says:
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      Well, Bob: are you saying that the city intentionally sets up cars to be stolen, allows someone they assum is drunk to take it, watches them drive around for some period of time, but does nothing but observe the situation for some additional period of time…and they are not at least partially liable?

      Uh, think again.

  • August 30, 2013 at 1:44 pm
    Sally Ann Fannymaker says:
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    Wildly negligent!

  • August 30, 2013 at 1:56 pm
    mikey says:
    Hot debate. What do you think?
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    The city is not negligent. They are attempting to catch the bad guys and make the city safer/better place to live. If these hoodlums crashed the car like idiots prior to the cops stopping them, liability is on the hoodlums…not that you’ll get any recovery from the losers.

    • August 30, 2013 at 2:02 pm
      Jon says:
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      Incorrect, Mikey.

      If the article is correct, and that an officer was nearby and chose not to intervene, the city can absolutely be held liable.

      Assuming of course, that the city does not have a Tort Immunity statute in place. Which is usually the defense government entities rely on to get out from under due to poor decision making.

  • August 30, 2013 at 2:34 pm
    insurance is fun! says:
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    Comeon Mikey……come on Bob…

    You mean to tell me that if you were the homeowner and you discovered that prior to the time the drunken idiots drove the car into your home, the police set it up, were watching, decided that the driver was drunk, AND DID NOTHING you wouldn’t want them to pay you anything?

  • August 30, 2013 at 2:50 pm
    Huh! says:
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    The potential for damage and loss of life through use of bait cars seems intuitively obvious. The intent may not be there, but the probability of loss is almost certain. As to the drunk drivers being responsible, they stole the vehicle, which was a deliberate criminal act not covered by any insurance policy. The city should take responsibility for the damage and be grateful no one was killed. The city should also re-think the use of bait cars and police response time.

  • August 30, 2013 at 3:40 pm
    Rosenblatt says:
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    What were the cops waiting for? Couldn’t they have pulled the kids over for (1) DWI/DUI and (2) grand theft auto? What ELSE were they hoping the kids would do – drive the car to a chop shop? Seems like it was pointless to let them keep driving when they knew they had broken, and continued to violate, more than one law

  • August 30, 2013 at 5:08 pm
    Maybe I missed something, says:
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    But could they not have installed a remote kill/door lock switch that they could activate within minutes after the car was taken?

  • August 30, 2013 at 6:24 pm
    Hmmm says:
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    I thought “bait” cars had a “Kill” switch in them to shut the car down once stolen. If they don’t have the kill switch in the car, they should’t be using bait cars. Someone steals a car and many times that don’t pull over easily — they want to run. Running car thieves are a HUGE danger to the public.

    • September 3, 2013 at 11:33 am
      insurance mom says:
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      Agreed, I thought the bait cars were set up with a kill switch. The claimant needs to, yes, get his own homeowner and auto claim in the works, and then let his insurer slug it out with the city. I can see, though, that there could some “bad faith” on the part of the city administration for stone-walling.

  • August 30, 2013 at 6:26 pm
    Hmmm says:
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    One more thought on this story — the city says, just have your insurance pay. Excuse me — assuming the homeowner has a $1,000 deductible on his home and a $1,000 deductible on the car insurance, he is out $2,000. Come on city — if you are going to run this type of operation, you need tighter controls.

  • August 30, 2013 at 6:41 pm
    Baxtor says:
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    I don’t think it says here that the officer knew the teens were drunk when they stole the car. They may not have known until they were arrested. I can see the officer waiting for backup because if he didn’t and they shut the bait car down, and the teens decided to run and escape the officer, or even openly shoot at the officer, kill him, and then run, what good would it have done to have a bait car?
    Unfortunately they ran into a house. I would be upset too, but what can you do? It’s an unfortunate situation and unfortunately situations happen. Such as a car running a red light, an airplane crashing, etc… Luckly no one was hurt.

  • August 30, 2013 at 7:09 pm
    CARL COVERAGE says:
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    Unless policies have changed, he should first make a claim on the policy insuring the vehicle, and it should pay damages to the man. Whoever insures the vehicle can then collect from drivers’ insurance.

    • September 3, 2013 at 4:28 pm
      Libby says:
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      You’re assuming the City of Albuquerque has an insurance policy. They are, in all probability, self-insured.

  • August 31, 2013 at 7:52 am
    Justin R says:
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    It’s very simple.

    The police – according to their own story – were executing a pre-planned operation allowing a car to be stolen by unknown persons yet, either as part of the original plan or by department mistake, police were unable to safely stop the thieves immediately, relying instead on a delayed response that created an undue time frame for property damage to occur.

    By knowingly executing an operation where they vehicle could not be stopped immediately after the vehicle theft began, they willingly endangered public safety and property.

    They must pay, in the least, partial damages for choosing to do so.

    • September 3, 2013 at 4:33 pm
      Libby says:
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      If I, as an auto owner, leave my keys in the car and it is stolen by someone and they do damage, am I to be held responsible? Should I have known the car was not only going to be stolen, but be stolen by a drunk driver and then used to crash into someone’s house?

      If police protocol is to wait for back-up and the officer was following an established procedure, I think they have at least a valid defense.

      Having said that, $11,000 is cheap at twice the price. For P.R. purposes and to avoid litigation expenses, they should just pay it.

  • September 3, 2013 at 1:00 pm
    Jon says:
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    If the bait car wasn’t insured, then the city is negligent.

    • September 3, 2013 at 2:09 pm
      Jon says:
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      Not my post.

      This is why IJ should have registered accounts for commenting.

      And other Jon–you are also incorrect. The city is self-insured. The car having insurance is not even germaine to the issue.



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