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ScatPack.com: In their own words...
Larger versions available by clicking on photos

I want to start this story out from the very beginning. 3 years ago a friend called me to tell me about a car he had seen sitting in this farmer's yard. It didn't have a for sale sign in it but it wouldn't hurt to check into it. So that afternoon after work I gathered my girlfriend and her daughter and we went to look at the car.

It was a numbers matching 1970 Challenger, brand new plum crazy paint job and new tires,and not a speck of rust (Wyoming doesn't salt their roads in winter) I walked up to the door and talked to the farmer, yes it was for sale and all he wanted for it was 2500.00. Well of course I wrote him a check to hold it and we went and gathered up the rest of the money.

That is how I came into possession of this car. Now on with the rest of the story.

Two years ago, we decided to take a trip from Cody Wyoming to Brodhead Wisconsin where my family is from, to visit. We decided to take the Challenger to show it off to friends and family.
Everything was going along great, making great time and the car was running good, until we reached Sac City Iowa.

We stopped to check the map ,we were 300 miles from where we were going,and it was only 9:00 p.m.. So we washed the windshield and took our restroom breaks and headed out.

About 7 miles out of town my dream was shattered. It happened so fast no time to react. There was an oncoming car so for a split second I was blinded by oncoming headlights, that's all the time it took. It was like hitting a brick wall at 55 miles an hour. We were in a sideways slide across both lanes with oncoming traffic. It took everything I had to control the car and bring it to a stop. When we did stop the front end was smashed. I checked to see if my fiancé and her daughter were okay then got out and looked at the car.

OH MY GOD! What the hell did I hit? I remember seeing something fly through the air after the hood crumpled and being from Wyoming it was the color of an Elk, but I knew it couldn't be an Elk in Iowa. So I started looking for it. About 40 yards ahead of where we stopped I found a 3 to 4 hundred pound calf lying in the ditch. A cow! A damn cow! Well by this time people had begun to stop. And amazingly enough one was a tow truck. The driver Kevin Frederick stopped and helped by putting his warning lights out and turning on the lights of the tow truck. A woman driving a suburban stopped and called 911 on her cell phone and kept our daughter in her vehicle till everything was over.

When the state trooper got there he said a farmer had called in minutes before and said he was missing a cow to be watching for it. So the trooper got on the radio and told dispatch to call the farmer and let him know what happened.

The farmer showed up to the accident scene with insurance papers in hand and identified it as his because of the tattoo in its ear. He gave the trooper all his information and left.

This happened on a Saturday night so we had to wait till Monday for the insurance adjuster to show up. According to Kevin (the tow truck driver) the first words out of the adjusters mouth were "Oh we didn't think it was this nice of a car" then the adjuster came to the motel where we were staying to see us. If he could have drug us out of the motel and put us on a bus for home, He would have done just that. He had my fiancé call all bus stations and rental car places while he was in the room. He informed us that it was at OUR cost to get back home "there is nothing we can do about a rental for you" he said.

We informed him that our insurance company had told us NOT to leave town till we knew something solid from them. He told us that he had taken pictures and talked to the farmer that they would let us know and left.

We stayed in that motel for the next 3 days waiting for an answer from them, finally on Wednesday I called them and got the run around, call this number they will be able to tell you something, from that number we got "call this number and they will tell you something". This went on for about 5 calls, finally I got mad and told the next person I talked to that if I had to I would fly to Kansas (their main office) and talk to someone in person and it wouldn't be nice!

That is when they told me there was a question of liability. I asked what question? In Iowa there is no open range law, the farmer said the cow was his and gave us all his insurance information, How could there be any question?

They responded that it was a problem cow.That the farmer had done everything he could to contain this animal. Excuse me! A Problem Cow!

Here in Wyoming and the surrounding states like Montana, Utah and Colorado if it is a problem cow they have it on their supper table so it won't become a "PROBLEM" to some innocent person.

SO we contacted an attorney in Sioux City and retained him. He told us that there was no need for any upfront money that he worked on a contingency. That problem was solved (we thought, I will explain that a little further in the story).

We called my parents and asked them to wire us some money to rent a car and come home on, they did. Well the only car we could rent had to be returned to the place of the rental, which was no problem as I intended to return immediately to bring the Challenger home.

We pulled into our front yard Thursday morning at 7:30-8:00 and by 7:00 p.m. A friend and I were back on the road with the rental car on a trailer headed back for Sac City Iowa. At 2:00 p.m. Friday afternoon I had to call my fiancé and tell her the motor on the truck blew up, to find another truck to borrow and head out to get us, that we had unloaded the car and were headed to Sac City to return the car and the truck and trailer where sitting at the rest stop outside Chaimberlain South Dakota.

Well she borrowed a truck and her and her cousin headed for first Chamberlain to pick up the trailer and then Sac City. They got to Sac City at 1:00 Saturday afternoon. All four of us made it home at about 3:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

Now, it was 6 months later that we were contacted by the lawyer we retained asking us to send some money for him to file the papers. HUH? It has been 6 months and you are just getting around to filing papers? He had no explanation. Then I asked him about what he had told me before we left Iowa about no money till the case was won again no explanation. Well I decided to drop him and talked to a lawyer in Sac City who said yes he would take the case, to send him all the paperwork we had already received from the other lawyer. We told him we hadn't received a thing from him. So this lawyer told us he would contact him and get them. Well the
lawyer from Sac City called us back and told us all the other lawyer sent him was the accident report and the estimate (which the estimate was 6943.00 to restore it, and that was from the only restoration shop in the area) to have the car fixed. That was all, and that is what we had faxed to the lawyer. What a jerk.

As of this writing we have yet to come up with the retainer for the lawyer in Sac City, after everything that happened to us we have been struggling to get all of those expenses paid off and save enough to be able to send him money. Also we have never heard another word from the farmers insurance company. And I am sure you are all asking about our insurance, well, before we left on this trip I tried to get full coverage classic car insurance. They refused me, not because I wasn't a great driver (I have a class b drivers license, my job requires it. I am a ready mix truck driver) they refused because my fiancé whom I lived with had a dwui on her record that was 6 years old, and I wasn't even putting her on the policy, she didn’t drive the car, but because we lived in the same household they wouldn't Insure me. So we had to settle for just liability insurance. BIG MISTAKE, I know but at the time we didn't think anything would happen! And that insurance company will not help us out in any way, not even to try to get the farmers to do something. Thanks Alot.

So the reason for us to ask all Mopar owners and classic car lovers, to please change their insurance if they have Hawkeye or any affiliates of Hawkeye, is that if this can happen to us it can DEFINATELY happen to you...and I would hate to see anyone else go through what I have been through. Everyone knows you pay and pay and pay your insurance hoping that if anything happens you will be covered, but the reality is you have to fight these big corporations to get anywhere.

We contacted the Iowa Insurance Commission and were told that until the insurance company either denied or accepted liability there was nothing they could do about it. As of this writing the insurance company is sitting on the fence. I am sure they know this law so as long as they sit on the fence it is all up in the air unless we can come up with a retainer to hire a lawyer to civil sues the farmer. And it is not an easy job of coming up with extra money as I have stated before.

This is the whole story.
Tim a.k.a. 70 plum craz

UPDATE 4/22/02:

Dear Brian,
Just to finish updating you on the car. And I am sending some pictures of what it looks like now. And the work that has been going on on it, we were able to save both front fenders, A couple guys in our car club came over and were able to save the drivers side fender which I didnt think could be saved, course I am not a body man so know nothing. The passenger side fender was fine once it was taken off the car it straightened out. We got the inner fenders welded in last saturday. A 71 chargeer was the donor car for the inner fenders and radiator support. Found out that the 2 could interchange and there are lots of 71-72 chargers floating around here.We are still looking for a hood and front bumper, Have been watching and checking sites on the internet on fiberglass hoods.

Oh by the way I told you in my last e-mail that I would send you the names that the insurance company is going under now, we found out that they have like 5 diffrent names they go by Hawkeye,Commercial Union,One Beacon,Amev, Fortis, and CGU. You cant find Hawkeye ,CGU, or Commercial union under auto insurance anymore though, they are under house and life. But they changed their name to One Beacon for auto. Just thought I would let you in on that. And as far as the offices go, they must have caller I.D. because everytime we call we get their answering machine and no one calls us back. We are in the prosses of getting the papers to file with the Insurance Commission of Iowa to get something started about getting the company kicked out and fined by the state for misrepresentaion, and bad business practices.

We have talked to an insurance lawyer here in Wyoming and he just won a multi-million dollar suit against that company and he informed us that their practice is to deny all claims and let it go thru court if the people can afford to take it to court. Because they know that most people can not afford to take it to court.

So that is the update, still a slow process, but am working on it. Thank you for your interest and Help. Thanks so much for putting the story on scat pack we appreciate it immencly!!! Also if you update the story on scat pack PLEASE Thank Steve,Lydia and her Husband for the parts and money!

Tim & Verdine LaBorde

Ok ScatPackers
I'm asking everyone to pass this story around. Lets make some noise here. Hopefully with this page and the article in Mopar Collectors Guide, something can get done.

If anyone would like to donate money, parts, or just give him a hand, drop me an email, and ill set it up.

Now, go into your garage and give your car a big hug.

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