Help Squad: Driver in the hole, literally and figuratively

Jackie Pilossoph
For Sun-Times Media | @lovessentially
July 28 7 p.m.

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Donald Lutz has lived in Highland Park for 45 years. His kids attended Highland Park Schools and he’s always paid his property taxes on time. That’s why when Lutz accidentally drove his car into a hole that was part of a construction site on his street, he couldn’t believe the City of Highland Park didn’t seem to care that it caused almost $300 damage to his car.

So, Lutz called someone he thought might want to know about it: The Highland Park News. Editor Jennifer Fisher forwarded his message to Help Squad and that’s when we stepped in.

We spoke with Lutz, who gave us details of what happened. The city was repairing his street, and hired contractor, A Lamp Road Builders, to do the work. A Lamp workers were digging a few holes, one of which Lutz drove his car into. Lutz said the construction area was marked inappropriately, meaning he couldn’t see the “caution” sign until his car was already in the hole. He said another car drove into a hole almost at the same time as he did. Lutz called the Highland Park Police Department, who took a report.

Sensing something was wrong with his car, Lutz took it to Bernardi Auto Services Center in Highland Park, where they fixed the damage underneath, which had something to do with the fuel system. Cost to Lutz: $299.12. He felt he deserved reimbursement by someone, whether it was the city of Highland Park or A Lamp.

We knew Lutz had called the City of Highland Park, and that they had no interest in helping him, so we asked Lutz if he had tried calling A Lamp. When he told us he had not attempted to phone the company, we did. We spoke to a very pleasant and helpful employee named Carrie, who asked if we could have Lutz call her directly, and that she needed to start an investigation which would include statements and photos from Lutz.

Less than a week later, Lutz called us back and told us A Lamp was sending him a check for $299.12.

Dear Mr. Lutz,

We are so pleased that you are receiving the money you are owed for the damage of your car. It’s upsetting that the city wasn’t more helpful, and in fact did not even suggest that you call A Lamp to try to get reimbursed. We think it’s wonderful that A Lamp stepped up and did the right thing.

Lastly, be careful out there! Summer is construction season, and with that comes lots of temporary road changes. For example, have you been on Willow Road in Northfield lately? Yikes! I’m sure you aren’t the only driver who’s ended up in a hole or some other part of a construction site. So, please drive safe!

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Need help?

Did a utilities company overcharge you? Did a boutique deny your request for a return? Are you the victim of fraudulent business practices? Is someone just exhibiting bad business behavior?

Let Help Squad make the call for you.

Send your letters, your complaints, your injustices and your story ideas to HelpSquad@pioneerlocal.com and we will be happy to help you.

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