DENVER (KDVR) — When Drew Olhausen turned his Audi S5 left into a 7-Eleven parking lot on New Year’s Eve, he said there was never a chance to avoid the oncoming Cadillac Escalade.
“It was just, bam,” the 47-year-old Denver driver said.
Surveillance video obtained by FOX31 shows the Escalade speed through the intersection of West First Avenue and North Knox Court at 2 a.m. on Dec. 31.
The Escalade, driven by 60-year-old Anthony Duran, had no headlights on when it T-boned Olhausen’s Audi.
Moments after the collision, Olhausen took a photo of Duran giving him the middle finger and said Duran then chased him around the parking lot.
“He’s like, I’m going to kick your a–, and I was on the phone with 911 and they were telling me just to stay away from him,” Olhuasen said.
Denver Police officers arrived and gave Duran a sobriety test. The police report states Duran’s “breath had a strong odor of an unknown alcoholic beverage, balance was swaying, eyes were bloodshot, and admitted to consuming alcohol prior to driving.”
“It’s all a shock to me. I’m still in shock. I mean, I feel like it just happened yesterday,” Olhausen said.
State Farm refuses to honor claim
Five months later, his car still looks like it was hit yesterday.
It’s in the parking of Barry’s Bingo on South Federal Boulevard, near the intersection of West Jewell Avenue. It’s painted with the words “Speeding, Drunk Driving, Careless Driving, and No Lights On” just across the street from a State Farm office to remind the auto insurance giant of what it’s been unwilling to fix.
“It’s crazy. Usually when it’s a straightforward liability, meaning the person is at fault, was cited by the police, was arrested at the scene — you know, you cut to the chase, you pay the person that’s a victim and move on,” Jake Galperin, Olhausen’s attorney, said.
State Farm provides insurance coverage for Duran. But despite what Galperin said is overwhelming evidence of their customer’s liability, State Farm has refused to honor Olhausen’s damage claim.
“Even after they got the footage, even after they got the police report that showed that he was at fault by the police, that he had a DUI, and then the footage, which I personally went through with the adjuster and pointed out where his lights were off, they still denied liability,” Galperin said.
State Farm responds to the case
In Colorado, insurance companies are allowed to deny legal liability if both drivers are considered equally at fault.
In a letter to attorney Galperin, State Farm wrote: “We are assessing 50% negligence against our insured driver for driving without lights on and improper lookout and 50% negligence against your client for failure to maintain proper lookout and to yield the right of way while turning off a double yellow.”
“He wouldn’t have been able to yield because the guy had no lights. He was speeding and driving erratically,” he said, adding State Farm’s letter failed to mention its client, Duran, was charged with DUI and careless driving.
The estimate to repair Olhausen’s car is $21,771. In the meantime, he still has to make monthly car payments of $640 a month for a car he can’t drive.
“Blows my mind. I never, ever thought I’d be in this position,” Olhausen said.
In a statement to the Problem Solvers, State Farm wrote:
“We are committed to fulfill our obligation to our customers and pay what we owe. When a third party makes a claim against our customer, we perform a diligent investigation and review all underlying facts to make a liability determination. If a customer has additional information regarding their claim, we will consider the additional information as part of our investigation.
State Farm is Colorado’s largest auto insurance provider
State Farm is the largest auto insurance provider in Colorado.
According to the Colorado Insurance Industry Statistical Report, State Farm had the largest market share in Colorado in the most recent 2021 report, with 18% of the market share.
When asked if he thought State Farm was denying his client’s claim to save money, Galperin responded, “Of course,” before adding, “It’s insane. It’s insane. And because of the fact of the size of the insurance carrier, this could happen anywhere. Like I said, they ensure a ton of people in Colorado and if it happened to him, it could happen to anyone.”
First, it was Anthony Duran who flipped off Drew Olhausen. Now his attorney said it’s State Farm that’s giving his client the bird: “It’s 100% what they did.”
Duran is due July 18 to enter a plea on the charges of DUI and careless driving.
Galperin said if State Farm refuses to change its stance, he will be forced to sue the insurance carrier to get justice for Olhausen.
“Typically, you know, you would expect them (State Farm) to do the right thing when they know someone did the wrong thing. And in this case, this is a complete opposite of that,” Galperin said.