According the reports largely verbatim here, the Hutto woman and her disabled son are desperate for a solution nearly eight months after their van was sent to a North Austin body shop to be fixed.
Their van was damaged in a car accident back in January when Sarah Gaskins lost control on the icy roads. After filing a claim with her insurance, she took the van to D-Town Auto Body Shop in North Austin.
Since then, however, she has been unable to pick up her van because the owner of D-Town Body Shop, Darren Wydermyer, has yet to completely fix it.
Every time Gaskins calls the shop, she says Darren tells her it will be ready “next week.”
“It’s never ready next week. That’s been going on for over five months,” Gaskins told KVUE-TV.
Her son Jacob has normal function, but he was born with cerebral palsy after an accident during delivery. They rely on the van to take him anywhere he needs to go, including doctor’s appointments.
“Where it’s really complicated is with Jacob’s doctor’s appointments. I’ll schedule an appointment, and Darren will say it’ll be ready next week so I’ll say okay and reschedule the appointment for next week,” she explained.
KVUE asked Darren if it normally takes six to eight months to do this type of body work.
His response? “No, this is a rare situation.”
Darren explains that there was extensive damage so the repairs are taking longer than usual.
He also claims there has been some confusion over the insurance, but Gaskins says he has already been paid for work he has not completed.
Gaskins said Darren was handed the check in February and cashed it immediately.
After phone calls each week and still no van, Gaskins son’s trust, an Austin law firm, issued a letter authorizing a tow truck driver to go to the shop and pick up the van to take to a different auto body shop.
Charlie Lincoln, a representative of Austin Mobility where Gaskins purchased the van, volunteered to help and visit the shop himself.
Lincoln says Darren ignored him, and then asked him to leave.
“He said it was none of my business why the van had taken so long, and I had no business on his property,” Lincoln said.
Lincoln said a tow truck driver tried on three separate occasions to pick up the van and each time he was unsuccessful.
KVUE asked Darren why he wouldn’t release Gaskin’s van to the tow truck driver. He says he will not release it until the work is done and he is paid additional money for work he says he did, on top of the insurance money he has already received.
REPORTER: “You’re saying the insurance company owes you more than the $15,000?”
DARREN: “Yes, there [are] a few more items they need to pay for. That’s something you usually tally up at the end.”
REPORTER: “So you weren’t going to let them take the van until you had tallied the extra work on top of the $15,000?”
DARREN: “You do all that at the end. Of course I’d want to get all the money I’m owed before I release the van.”
Sarah says the insurance will pay the additional money and has in fact offered to pay more in the past but she says Darren had refused the money and didn’t mention the additional work required until now.
She is hoping the work will finally be finished soon so her son’s life can go back to normal and she won’t have to spend more money from Jacob’s trust on a lawyer.
“To pay an attorney, it’s going to be more money that’s going to come out of his trust and the insurance has already paid them. He should not have to suffer anymore. It’s not fair to him, because it’s coming out of his money that has to last his whole lifetime.”
Darren told KVUE he expects all the work to be completed within the next two to three days.
Darren also called Gaskins and told her it would be ready by next week.