Construction Worker at a Loss After Car Was Totaled in UHart Flooding

Tropical Storm Fred brought flash flooding to the Hartford area in August.

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“Right now, my horn doesn’t work, the alarm randomly goes off, the lights randomly come on in the car.”

That’s because Torell Boyd found his car filled with water on Aug. 19, after torrential rains from Tropical Storm Fred.

He said he was one of a dozen construction workers told to park at a lot on Elizabeth Street on the University of Hartford campus.

“We would lose an hour in the morning and an hour during the day because you had to get shuttled back and forth because they’re shuttling maybe 30 to 40 guys with one van,” said Boyd. 

And when they got back, he found water sputtering from the exhaust, water in cupholders, a child’s car seat and everything else inside was ruined. Months later, his wife said, it’s unsafe for the family to use.

“You can actually see the mold in the car,” Tashea Boyd said.

A police report says the vehicle owners were directed to park in the lot where the university is aware of flooding issues and didn’t notify car owners. It goes on to say the water was as high as five feet.

“There’s no signs that say it’s a flood zone, there’s no type of warning or anything,” said Torell.

NBC Connecticut reached out to the University of Hartford and a spokesperson said in a statement:

"Like many homes and businesses throughout our region, the University of Hartford was impacted by historic rainfall and flash flooding on August 19. Our lower-lying parking lots are marked with signage, and we regularly send communications to the campus community with reminders to relocate vehicles and/or avoid these areas when needed.

"This message was shared with management of vendors working on campus. During the torrential rain that created unprecedented flooding across West Hartford and our region, our campus also experienced flash flooding in atypical areas not prone to flooding. For vehicles that sustained damage, we are cooperating with all insurance companies as requested to assist in remedying damages quickly and appropriately."

NBC Connecticut reached out to Whiting Turner, who Boyd says is managing the construction project, to see if they received that message and if they were able to notify workers. They did not return calls for comment.

Boyd said he had insurance for his car if it was totaled, but that would have left him without a vehicle and he would have to start over buying another car on his own. So, he said he decided not to file a claim and the insurance company dropped coverage for the damaged car.

Eric George is president of the Insurance Association of Connecticut. He said it's important for home and auto owners to review their coverage plans.

"Know what's in your policy," George said. He adds that statewide, 75 percent of drivers have comprehensive coverage. It protects against things like vandalism and damage from a tree limb.

Boyd said he’s doing his own repair work, which means making tough decisions.

“We had to make a sacrifice,” Tashea said. “It’s either I stay home, and he goes to work, or he stays home, and I go to work.”

Boyd said he’s disappointed that neither his now former company nor the university offered direct help.

“There was no body to advocate for us. We were basically on our own. In a situation like this I would expect somebody to stand up for us,” he said.

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