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Dozens file claims after mailboxes damaged by Hendricks County snowplows

County engineer says snow was wet and heavy
Ashley Lovett's mailbox was damaged by a county snowplow, she says
Posted at 6:00 AM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-08 20:09:00-05

HENDRICKS COUNTY — Dozens of homeowners say their mailboxes were damaged by snowplows during the January 30-31 snow event.

“My mailbox was smashed in,” Logan Keck, of Danville, said. "Within a mile, we had at least 15 completely over and a lot more damaged."

It happened to Ashley Lovett’s mailbox in Pittsboro too.

“The plow had come through and basically knocked our mailbox down,” Lovett said. “We are in a neighborhood, but it was really disappointing.”

Hendricks County has received 32 complaints about mailbox replacement, according to John Ayers, Hendricks County engineer.

“Mailboxes aren’t usually damaged by physical contact from a plow, they are damaged by the snow itself as the plow moves it off the road, even at slower speeds,” Ayers said in an email to WRTV. “Because this weekend’s snow was very wet and heavy it did more damage than we usually experience.”

Over the past four years, Hendricks County has averaged only 13 mailbox claims per year and prior to the January 30-31, 2021 weekend, the county had only received 3 claims for the season.

“Of course, any damage to property is unfortunate, but each time we plow our 775 miles of road we pass an estimated 40,000 mailboxes,” Ayers said. “So this rate of occurrence is really fairly reasonable.”

Hendricks County has a claim process in place where homeowners are reimbursed for mailbox replacement.

The current payment amount is $40, but Ayers said they plan to increase that amount soon.

“The $40 is an absolute insult to be honest, it’s a joke that’s all they’re willing to pay,” Lovett said. “Even if I show them the cost of the mailbox, and it’s disappointing they won’t even take that into consideration. The cost of my mailbox is so much more.”

Logan Keck drives a private snowplow, and said Hendricks County needs to look at its staffing levels and protocols for snowplows.

Keck plans to speak up at the next commissioner's meeting later this month.

"Just to make sure the safety is in place that should be there,” Keck said. “I hope to get answers in my meeting."

If your property is damaged by a city or county vehicle, make sure to take pictures of the damage right away and save all of your invoices and receipts associated with the repair.

Click here for how to file a claim in Hendricks County.

“I'm happy a lot of people are filing claims so there can be a change, but it's also disappointing that so many people are affected and having to deal with this situation,” said Lovett.

The City of Indianapolis Office of Corporation Counsel says it has received only one mailbox damage claim so far this season, and it was due to a DPW garbage truck, not a snowplow.

Click here to file a damage claim in Marion County.

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