Two years after a misrouted truck caused parkway and sidewalk damage in Flosssmoor, village officials have determined the bill for damages is uncollectible.
The truck, pulling a massive refinery heat exchanger, rumbled through the Flossmoor neighborhood, in its wake tearing up the residential parkway and sidewalks.
Police scrambled to re-route the truck – which was mistakenly directed to a Flossmoor Road viaduct too small for the cargo to clear– back onto Governors Highway.
That was on April 28, 2015. Nearly two years later, Flossmoor officials closed the book on the incident by deciding that a $7,434.67 bill for damages caused by the truck is uncollectible.
Village board members, at their Feb. 6 meeting, approved a motion writing off 2016 invoices deemed uncollectible by Flossmoor’s finance department. The bill related to the truck incident made up the lion’s share of all bad accounts last year.
In all, the village had $8,979.67 in uncollectible accounts in 2016, said Finance Director Scott Bordui. Without that one large unpaid bill, the village’s collection rate would have been 99.3 percent, he said.
Public Works Director John Brunke told the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle that the truck, which was re-routed through the neighborhood south of Flossmoor Road, caused damage to parkway grass and sidewalk squares.
The trucking firm, based in Oklahoma, was billed for labor and material costs after the damage was fixed. However, the trucking company refused to pay the bill because police had not issued any tickets in the incident.
“The police did not issue tickets because the state of Illinois, in error, gave the company a permit route through the village,” Brunke said. ”We did not pursue it any further because the village attorney advised that we would not be successful in recovering our costs.”
Brunke said that, to his knowledge, “this is the worst third party parkway damage that we have had to fix.”
The incident began at about 8:30 a.m. when the driver, on his way to the BP Refinery in Whiting, Ind., turned off Governors Highway east onto Flossmoor Road. The Illinois Department of Transportation had given the driver a permit to transport the huge piece of equipment and had provided a route, which indicated he should turn onto Flossmoor Road. The permit allowed the truck and trailer to exceed weight restrictions; the total weight of the load came to 172,000 pounds.
However, the driver realized that there was no way that his cargo would be able to make it through the Flossmoor Road viaduct. The heat exchanger reached a full height of 15 feet, 11 inches. The Flossmoor Road viaduct has a total height of 11 feet, 4 inches.
The driver, who stopped in front of Infant Jesus of Prague School, was unable to turn around. Police arrived on the scene and the decision was made to re-route the truck and its cargo through the neighborhood. Eight Flossmoor officers and one Homewood officer helped re-route the truck back onto Governors Highway, where it was parked for the next two days while a new travel route was developed.