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Driver asked to pay for road repairs after car crash

Bills for crash damages are common, officials say

WESTON, Fla. – When Mary Anne Mittendorff needed to get off at Glades Parkway in May, she admittedly changed lanes right into the path of a nearby SUV.

"I hit something and started to spin around," she said.

The SUV she cut off slammed into the guardrail and damaged Interstate 75.

Now she’s being asked to pay for the repair work.

Mittendorff is being charged for a half-ton of asphalt and all replacement materials. She’s also being charged for securing the scene and the cleanup of debris.

"They are asking me for $2,800," she said. "In excess of $2,800."

The top of the demand letter is titled "reparation for damage" and asks for a certified check if there is no insurance.

Mittenforff came to Local 10 News to see if the action was legal.

"I'm absolutely in disbelief," she said. "I have never heard of that in my life, and I think it's important for people to know."

Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman Barbara Kellher said people can be charged for repair work.

"It's not just state roads," Kellher said. "It's city streets and county roads, as well."

"Is this something new?" Local 10 News investigative reporter Jeff Weinsier asked.

"This is not something new," Kellher said. "The law says every motorist is responsible for their vehicle and for any damages they cause."

Mittenorff said she feels she already paid for repair work through taxes.  

"I pay taxes to repair a highway, I thought, and now I'm being asked to pay double," she said.

But the FDOT said that's not the case.

If there is a police report and the driver is at fault, expect to get the bill. Tax dollars go to damages caused by unknown sources.

"When you don't know who the responsible party is, that's when your tax dollars, you know, go for, you know, millions of those types of damages," Kellher said.

Mittendorff, 62, said she never expected the bill to come months after the crash. She submitted the letter to her insurance company, and it appeared her damage liability will cover the cost.