Maria Yohner's minivan was totaled in the Aug. 10 crash (File/photo by Rachel Cox)
NOLANVILLE (August 22, 2012)—Maria Yohner, a single Bell County mother whose minivan was totaled when it was hit a car driven by a woman suspected of shoplifting who was fleeing police, is now battling the woman’s insurance company.
Yohner was not seriously injured in the crash, but the mother of five lost her only means of transportation and the suspected shoplifter’s insurance company is refusing to pay for her totaled vehicle.
"That insurance company said they are denying the claim because it was a felony being committed when the accident occurred so since a felony was being committed they are not responsible," Yohner said Wednesdsay.
Scott Crivelli of the Carlson Law Firm, however, said that may not be the case because it requires intentional damage, not just intentional criminal conduct, for the exclusion to apply.
"In other words if I engage in some sort of intent to harm you with my car like I try to hit you that would be excluded, but a simple criminal act with a vehicle that negligently leads to an accident as in this case is certainly covered in fact the Texas Supreme Court said so," Crivelli said.
Yohner is relying on family and friends for rides to work and her kids' doctor's appointments.
"I just want to be normal again I just want a little minivan to take me to and from work so I can support my kids, that's all I want," Yohner said.
The woman accused of attempting to elude police had to be freed from the wreckage of her car after the crash on Aug. 10 at the intersection of Farm-to-Market 439 and Sparta Road.
She remains in the hospital, but will be arrested and charged after she’s released, police said.
The shoplifting incident was reported at around 1:20 p.m. Aug. 10 at a local Dollar General Store.
Kent said he and other officers responded.
Kent said when he got to the scene, he saw a woman getting into her car and leaving the store.
When he ordered her to stop, she drove toward him and almost ran him down, he said.
Kent said he jumped out of the way and called for backup.
Nolanville officers pursued the fleeing woman east on FM 439 to Sparta Road, where the woman’s car crashed into the minivan.
Central Bell County Fire and Rescue had to use hand tools to cut the suspected shoplifter from her wrecked car.
Officers searched along FM 439 after the chase for possible evidence from the shoplifting and recovered almost $100 worth of merchandise that had been taken from the store including DVDs and wheel rim cleaner, police said.