Jennifer Boynton on three years of hell after being hit by a Northglenn police officer
Several times in early February 2009, Jennifer Boynton would leave her Northglenn apartment with the intention of getting in her car and leaving. It was only once she was staring at her empty parking space that she remembered her car had been totaled the morning of February 2, when a Northglenn police officer ran into her. Her car's fate clearly hadn't registered with her and she had no way of seeing the downward trajectory her life would take following the accident.
Nearly three years later, she finally received a settlement this week from the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency (CIRSA), a self-insured pool made up of over 230 Colorado municipalities, one of which is Northglenn. The $27,000 she received will cover medical bills totaling around $18,000 and other expenses she believes she wouldn't have incurred had she not been hit by the police officer, including a loan and an eviction.
Her experience went far past the inconvenience of filling out paperwork, looking for a new car and visiting the doctor for check-ups. Boynton lost her job, car, apartment, savings, pet bird, most of her possessions, a good portion of her sanity and any sense of normalcy. Unaware of how to handle the situation, she felt overmatched by her circumstances and believes others could easily suffer a similar fate.
She worried about when her next meal would come and where it would come from. She feared homelessness and perpetual unemployment and found out just how few true friends she had. All the while, she says she was alternately harassed and ignored by Diane Hall, the claim representative for CIRSA who handled Boynton's claim. Hall says she is unable to comment for this story.
"I can't blame everything that goes on in my life on this accident, and I haven't," Boynton maintains. "But I can guarantee that the chain of events that happened afterward were from that accident."
What hurt Boynton the most was relying on others. She takes a lot of pride in handling terrible situations with just her will, so it crushed her core to lean on friends and ask local churches to pass the plate so she could eat.
"I guess just the snowball effect of all the events that happened afterward threw me into a depressed state," she says. "It's hard to explain unless you lived the whole story."
On February 1, 2009, Boynton, who's 41, went to a Super Bowl party at a friend's house and had enough drinks that she decided she shouldn't drive home. Her reward for doing the right thing was a police car colliding with her Pontiac Sunfire as she drove North on Huron Street just after 7 a.m. the next morning.
According to the accident report, Officer Ernie Romero was on his way to serve as a School Resource Officer at Northglenn High School. He was stopped at a green light in the south-bound lane on Huron Street, waiting for a north-bound car to turn right onto West 100th Place so that he could turn left on to the same street. After the car remained stopped on Huron for several moments Romero began to turn left once he thought traffic had cleared and smashed into the front, left portion of Boynton's car, spinning it into a mini-van that was waiting at a red light to head west on 100th Place.
From the Northglenn Police Facebook page.
Boynton's air bag deployed and the force of the collision was enough to knock the ramming bumper off the police car. Boynton sat still in her car with a bloody nose, not yet sure how badly she was hurt.
Afterward, Boynton says she was briefly examined by personnel in an ambulance at the scene, but was just feeling general soreness at that time, so a police officer gave her a ride home. Once she got home, she started feeling more pain and asked a friend to take her to the hospital.
Boynton went to the North Suburban Medical Center, where a medical report shows she underwent three X-ray exams and a CT scan. She was diagnosed with a cervical strain and a single contusion to her left shoulder. Her injuries seemed minor enough, so she was given a neck brace, pain medication, a sedative and a list of doctors to follow up with, and then sent home. Romero was cited with careless driving.
The doctors who examined her told her not to work for two days, after which she started down the unexpectedly tough path to putting the accident behind her. She was injured, without a car, and suddenly had several lawyers, doctors and an insurance agent to communicate with.
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