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Mystery witness obstructs claim

A mystery witness is trumping the findings of police and a court following a wreck in Mountain View.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Ark. (KATV) - With the Arkansas Legislature about to begin another session, one Cleburne County man hopes lawmakers give the Arkansas Insurance Department a little more authority.

When your vehicle is paid for, full coverage insurance is not required. If you are in an accident, your repairs should be covered unless you caused the wreck.

Mountain View is a one-stoplight town.

And if you are at that light and want to turn left and head north out of town, then you can if you have a green arrow. If you don't have a green arrow, you must yield to oncoming traffic.

In November of 2017, a Mountain View police officer determined that a driver trying to make that turn failed to yield and caused a head-on accident.

Robert Jobes was ticketed for failure to yield. He challenged the ticket in court and lost. A judge agreed that Jobes caused the accident.

The only party that doesn't agree is Jobes' insurance company.

Shelter Insurance, in a letter dated seven days after the accident, wrote, "Our investigation revealed that our insured is not liable for this loss. Because our insured is not liable, we will be unable to pay for your loss."

Jamie Hipp's son was driving the truck that Jobes hit.

"We contacted them after, you know, they found him guilty and they still didn't pay," says Hipp.

Hipp also filed a complaint with the Arkansas Insurance Department.

A spokesperson for the department says that while the agency's primary mission is consumer protection, it lacks the legal authority to conduct binding dispute resolution or to determine fault in such matters.

"Is this something you think the Legislature could address?"

"I have no idea,” says Hipp. “I'm hoping something like that. I just want Shelter to step up and do the right thing and take care of my vehicle."

Shelter Insurance says they have a witness who contradicts the findings of the police and the judge.

When we asked for the name of that witness, a spokesperson told us privacy rules prevents Shelter from sharing that information.

Hipp believes that this is the kind of situation the Insurance Department should have the authority to investigate and mediate.

You may recall we looked into a similar case in Garland County that involved State Farm insurance back in July.

Air date: January 11th, 2019

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