Sheri Craig and her husband Robert thought life aboard a boat would be simpler. Instead, they feel like they're sinking because of a fight with the state.
"I'm so frustrated with this," exclaimed Craig.
Their summer got torpedoed when they got a letter from the Department of Licensing. It said they were on the hook for over $11,000 for being uninsured in a car accident in October 2012.
"What accident?" asked Craig.
The couple used to own a red, 1987 Ford Ranger. They didn't have insurance because it was sold for scrap in 2010.
"It was run down; the front end was falling apart. So, my husband decided to have it crushed," said Craig.
But two years later it was placed at the scene of an accident in Seattle.
"The police report gives this number and this is our license plate number and the VIN number and says this is a 1984 Ford Ranger pickup," said Craig.
Sherri called the drivers and witnesses on the report and learned the real truck was a blue, 1986 GMC pickup. So how did the Craigs' car end up in this mess?
"An officer wrote down the wrong license plate number," explained Craig.
It was just a one number mistake, but enough to tie them to the accident.
"I don't want this on my husband’s record," said Craig.
The Craigs sent DOL pictures they got from a driver at the accident which show a blue truck. They also pointed to the state's database that lists their Ranger as destroyed. DOL even had a letter from the victim's insurance company which listed the correct at-fault driver.
"We go through all of that. They couldn't understand it. And then we get another letter stating that we're still responsible, financially responsible," said Craig.
Next, the Craigs sent a notarized letter from the company that scrapped their truck. It said the Ranger was destroyed and couldn't have been in the accident. But the state remained anchored to its position.
"Nobody wants to admit that okay, maybe we did write down the wrong license plate number. Maybe we are going after a guy that is completely innocent of this," expressed Craig.
I sent the Craigs' documents to Brad Benfield at Department of Licensing. It took his people just three hours to figure this all out. He said the hang up for DOL's investigators was witness testimony.
"They indicated that the vehicle was a red vehicle, which was the color of the vehicle Mr. Craig did own," explained Benfield.
With the overwhelming evidence we provided, the state cleared the Craigs of the accident and all financial responsibility. They're also working with the Seattle Police Department to make sure that the police report is corrected so Mr. Craig won't be tied to the accident.