A Sevierville man needs help repairing a truck after a stolen garbage truck destroyed his pickup truck

Don Dare and Hannah More

10 hours ago

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Sevierville man whose pickup truck was severely damaged by the driver of a stolen garbage truck last month said it will cost nearly $7,000 to repair his vehicle.

Bob Crocker’s truck insurance expired while he was in the hospital for about two months. His car insurance expired in July, and the accident occurred in early August.

Crocker, weak and in poor condition after months of chemotherapy, also has a pickup truck in poor condition after being hit in August.

“They hit her so hard that she jammed the bed here,” Crocker said.

The 85-year-old widower lives alone and is a Vietnam Navy veteran. A damaged 2011 Ford F-150 is his only car.

“Well, I can’t get the tailgate down. I can’t lower it. It’s all messed up, the bumper’s gone because it hit me at about 30 miles an hour and hit my truck in the ditch,” Crocker said.

On August 7, the day of the wreck, a man hijacked a garbage truck and crashed into a building across from Crocker’s house, throwing debris from the store and trash everywhere. The driver then shot across the street, tearing through Crocker’s yard, then crashed into his truck. The front end of the waste management truck was largely destroyed.

The man stole the truck in Knox County and ended up in Sevier County where he was arrested. Crocker said the scene was so chaotic that day that workers spent hours cleaning up the mess.

“So everything calms down. I go to my insurance company. I just got out of the hospital with cancer,” Crocker said.

He was at LeConte Medical Center for two months from June to July receiving cancer treatment.

“I was recovering and I would be scared if I didn’t go into septic shock. Then I went beyond that and got double pneumonia. They said I died twice.”

While he was in the hospital recovering, his insurance had expired and he did not know it. When Crocker saw the damage to his truck, he called his dealer, whom he has known for years.

“He said your insurance is expired. I said, ‘No.’ So I tried going to Waste Management. They said they wouldn’t insure me because the truck was stolen,” Crocker said.

Crocker received two estimates on how much it would cost to make the repairs.

“The cost is…well, the cheapest would be $6,500 to fix my truck,” Crocker said.

This estimate includes the cost of a new rear bumper and trailer hitch as well as tailgate and frame repairs.

“The other guy wanted $11,000,” Crocker said. “If I can get $65 to fix my truck, I’ll be happy.”

He can still drive the truck, but he would like to be able to open the back door so he can use the bed.

“If Waste Management will help me with this. Their truck hit my truck,” Crocker said.

WATE contacted Waste Management. The company wrote in a statement that it was sympathetic to the damage to the Coker truck. However, WM is awaiting the results of the police investigation before making any final decisions.

Crocker told WATE he just needed his truck fixed.

“Yes, that’s all I want. I need some help,” Crocker said.

Crocker said he had been an independent man all his life and had never gone out for charity. He said his truck was parked in the wrong place, in front of his house.

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