Eagle County deputy’s driving ticket dismissed | VailDaily.com

Eagle County deputy’s driving ticket dismissed

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” An Eagle County deputy’s driving-without-insurance ticket was dismissed last week after his insurance company reversed its position.

A police report says Deputy David Lawson, who works out of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office in El Jebel, admitted running into Karen Niemeyer’s Jeep with his white Dodge truck on Feb. 21 at Village Road and Highway 133.

The Carbondale Police Department cited Lawson with driving without valid insurance about a month later after the Niemeyers brought in a copy of a letter from Lawson’s insurance company. That letter from Farmer’s Insurance Group stated Lawson’s policy lapsed for nonpayment on Feb. 11, so no claims for the accident could be considered.

But after attorney Chad Barsness contacted Farmer’s more recently, the insurance company sent another letter saying, “Our investigation has determined that Mr. David Lawson’s policy was active for the date of loss, Feb. 21, 2008.”

The driving-without-insurance charge was dismissed after a court date Thursday. Lawson didn’t return a phone message Tuesday.

Barsness said Lawson did have insurance at the time of the accident.

“We pointed out to them (Farmer’s) that in fact they didn’t have a right to cancel,” Barsness said.

The company determined Lawson’s policy shouldn’t have been canceled because it accepted a payment just before canceling it, Barsness said.

Carbondale Police Chief Gene Schilling said it was a computer issue. He said the insurance company was taking money out of Lawson’s checking account monthly, but “messed up” and didn’t take out a payment.

“It didn’t get caught somehow, so he ended up being a month behind,” he said.

Karen and Glen Niemeyer were angry that Lawson didn’t receive a careless driving citation for rear-ending and damaging Karen’s Jeep. Niemeyer said she received some minor injuries including a concussion and whiplash. Police recommended she take an ambulance ride from the scene of the accident.

Schilling said previously that Lawson was treated the same as anyone else. He said his department is “a little less enforcement oriented” than other departments and doesn’t automatically issue citations when investigating traffic accidents.

The Niemeyers didn’t return a phone message Tuesday. A Farmer’s insurance representative handling Lawson’s claim couldn’t explain the company’s changing stance. She said company policy prohibits her from releasing any information about customers.

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