Homeowners look for answers after trash truck accident in Hurst

NBC Universal, Inc.

A group of neighbors in Hurst said they are dealing with damage after a trash truck, driving down the street, snagged communications lines. The tension then pulled down nearby utility poles. Some of those poles hit homes.

No one was hurt, but more than a week later the neighbors say it’s not clear who’s to blame.


Monday, June 12, Patricia Seymour said she was startled by the sound of a utility pole falling onto the roof of her home.

“It sounded like a bomb going off,” Seymour told NBC 5 Responds. “I jumped up, couldn’t imagine what happened, go out there, see the wires down and look on the roof and there’s a pole. I text my husband and say our backyard is a mess.”

Don Seymour said he raced home and snapped photos of a trash collection vehicle stopped on the street near their home.

“The garbage truck was sitting in the road with the lines still hooked to it. It was pretty bizarre,” he said. “What are the chances, right?”

Neighbor Edgar Valverde said he saw what happened while pulling into his driveway that day.

“The garbage truck was right behind me,” Valverde said. “As soon as I drove in, I felt a large thud and it ended up being a big branch from the tree falling on top of the car.”

The branch shattered a window of the vehicle Valverde was in. He said he jumped out and waved down the driver of the trash truck to let him know the truck was caught on lines connected to utility poles.

“You could hear him revving the engine because it was stopping. It was obviously the poles were stuck behind the house,” Valverde told NBC 5.

Valverde said the truck did not have equipment extended in the air. He showed NBC 5 pictures of a utility pole behind their house, snapped in half. Part of it landed on the fence. The rest, Valverde said, traveled across the roof to the front lawn.

Valverde’s girlfriend, Priscila Navarro, just bought the house a few days earlier.

“This was brand new, as of a week ago,” Navarro said, pointing to the damaged side gate. “They just replaced this whenever I bought the house.”

The couple said someone with the trash company, Republic Services, came to the scene and took their information the day of the incident.

“They just told us to hold on, the next day they would call us. Nothing happened. We have been trying to call multiple times. It’s been back and forth type of trying to get information from them,” Valverde said.


Navarro and Valverde told NBC 5 Responds they’ve grown concerned about the multiple companies and utilities involved. They said it’s not clear whether anyone would cover the damage to their car, roof, fence and yard.

NBC 5 Responds reached out to Republic Services.

In an email from media relations, Republic Services wrote, “While on route, one of our collection vehicles did come in contact with a low-hanging wire. At the time of the incident, no part of the truck was over-height. At this time, our risk department is assessing the claim and our claims administrator will be contacting the impacted homeowners.”

We also spoke by phone with Oncor, the electric transmission and distribution utility. A spokesperson told NBC 5 Responds its review of the incident showed the wires pulled down were communications lines and not power lines. A spokesperson said Oncor repaired four utility poles and any next steps are not with Oncor.

A spokesperson for AT&T said it has completed repairs to a section of cable after it was pulled down by a third-party, high-clearance vehicle. In an email, AT&T writes, “We believe our cables were placed at the appropriate height, and we are investigating this incident to determine how this occurred.”

We also checked with Spectrum. A spokesperson for the brand’s owner, Charter Communications, told NBC 5 Responds, “I’m told we are among several companies who have an aerial line at that location, but we’ve no indication our line was lower than our standard clearance. The power utilities own the poles, so they would likely be your best point of contact for more information regarding the various lines attached at that location.”

“It’s frustrating because everybody says 'No, it’s not mine',” Don Seymour told NBC 5 Responds.

The Seymours said they’ve contacted their homeowner's insurance and tarped the roof while assessing repairs. They said they’re facing a $3,000 deductible. Navarro said her deductible is around $5,000.


We sat down with attorney Nathaniel Plemons, a commercial and civil litigator, who is not involved in this incident.

“Sometimes it's such a mess because there could be all sorts of factors and you're not sure who caused this or what caused this,” Plemons said.

We asked, generally, about options for a homeowner if an accident damages their property.

“As difficult as it might be on the front end, you always want to mitigate your damages. You always want to show that you're trying to be responsible. To the degree that it's possible, I would engage your insurance,” Plemons explained.

He said homeowners may end up in court, asking a jury to sort through the facts and determine if anyone is responsible for the damages and, if so, how much each party would have to pay.

Whatever steps the homeowner decides to take after the damage happens, Plemons said homeowners should collect evidence after an incident.

That means taking photos, saving surveillance videos, documenting the damage and saving receipts for repairs. Take notes when you talk to companies about the damages. Document who you spoke to, when and what was discussed.

“You're also going to want to interview your neighbors. Did you see anything? When did you see it? Ask if you can record a conversation with them and make sure you've got the dates, the times, everything,” Plemons said.

Plemons pointed to the smartphone in his pocket, saying most consumers have an evidence recording tool available when accidents happen.

“The more you can ingrain this in your mind of when something like this happens: gather evidence and then you can go home and have your moment. Decompress from there. In the moment, you only get that one shot,” Plemons said.

In Hurst, the neighbors NBC 5 spoke to said they’re doing what they can to untangle the mess.

“I knew this was probably going to be a long process,” Navarro told NBC 5. “We all know when things happen like this it’s kind of out of your hands.”

The City of Hurst contracts with Republic Services for residential trash service. The city tells NBC 5 Responds, in part, that the exact cause of the low-hanging lines and which company is responsible is still unclear.

NBC 5 Responds asked the city if anyone reported previous concerns about the lines. The city said it didn’t have any reports of issues with these lines in its system.

The city also said, “We have advised homeowners to file claims with their insurance companies. We are hopeful an insurance investigation will provide answers and assistance for residents.”

NBC 5 Responds is committed to researching your concerns and recovering your money. Our goal is to get you answers and, if possible, solutions and a resolution. Call us at 844-5RESPND (844-573-7763) or fill out our customer complaint form.

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