Eagle County deputy’s driving citation dismissed
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – An Eagle County deputy’s driving-without-insurance citation was dismissed last week after his insurance company reversed its position.A police report says Deputy David Lawson, who works out of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office in El Jebel, admitted running into Karen Niemeyer’s Jeep with his white Dodge truck on Feb. 21 at Village Road and Highway 133.The Carbondale Police Department cited Lawson with driving without valid insurance about a month later after the Niemeyers brought in a copy of a letter from Lawson’s insurance company. That letter from Farmer’s Insurance Group stated Lawson’s policy lapsed for nonpayment on Feb. 11, so no claims for the accident could be considered.But after attorney Chad Barsness contacted Farmer’s more recently, the insurance company sent another letter saying, “Our investigation has determined that Mr. David Lawson’s policy was active for the date of loss, Feb. 21, 2008.”The driving-without-insurance charge was dismissed after a court date Thursday. Lawson didn’t return a phone message Tuesday.Barsness said Lawson did have insurance at the time of the accident, and Farmer’s took the position that he didn’t after the accident.”We pointed out to them that in fact they didn’t have a right to cancel,” Barsness said.The company determined Lawson’s policy shouldn’t have been canceled because it accepted a payment just before canceling it, Barsness said.Carbondale Police Chief Gene Schilling said it was a computer issue. He said the insurance company was taking money out of Lawson’s checking account monthly, but “messed up” and didn’t take out a payment.”It didn’t get caught somehow, so he ended up being a month behind,” he said.Karen and Glen Niemeyer were angry that Lawson didn’t receive a careless driving citation for rear-ending and damaging Karen’s Jeep. Niemeyer said she received some minor injuries including a concussion and whiplash. Police recommended she take an ambulance ride from the scene of the accident. The Niemeyers believed Lawson got special treatment from police because he’s a fellow member of law enforcement.Schilling said previously that Lawson was treated the same as anyone else. He said his department is “a little less enforcement oriented” than other departments and doesn’t automatically issue citations when investigating traffic accidents.Police Officer Luke Blue, who handled the accident, issued two citations out of 26 accidents he investigated over the previous year, according to Schilling.The Niemeyers didn’t return a phone message Tuesday. A Farmer’s insurance representative handling Lawson’s claim couldn’t explain the company’s changing stance. She said company policy prohibits her from releasing any information about customers.Contact Pete Fowler: email@example.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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Though it won’t bring major changes for most Garfield County businesses, local public health officials were notified Thursday that the county will move to the less-restrictive Level Blue, effective first thing Friday.