KCMO Councilman accused of road rage
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A May 28th accident by the Lowe’s Home Improvement store near Vivion and North Oak was more than a fender-bender for Morgan Morris-Looker.
“My headlights are gone. The whole front end of my car is smashed,” Morris-Looker said.
She was turning right at an intersection when she said another driver from the opposite direction ran the light to turn left. The two drivers merged onto the same frontage road by the Lowe’s with Morris-Looker in front of the other driver.
She said the other driver was apparently angry with her for getting in front of him so she said he crossed a double yellow line and passed her only to slam on his brakes. Morris-Looker said she had no time to react.
“So I rear-ended him, yeah it was pretty crazy.” she said.
She didn’t know it then but the other driver was Russ Johnson, the 2nd District Councilman for Kansas City, Mo.
“He put his own life in danger going into the opposite lane of traffic, could have potentially put someone else’s life in danger and then putting my life in danger whenever he slammed on his brakes so that I rear-end him. I consider that an act of road rage” Morris-Looker said.
The police report cites Johnson for “Failure to Yield and Improper Passing”. The councilman was giving a careless driving ticket, thanks in large part to the testimony of Christoper Bentsen, who told FOX 4: “It was a dumb move. I don’t know how else to say it. It was road rage.”
Bentsen is a trucker who was unloading mulch at the Lowe’s Home Improvement store and witnessed the accident.
“I think he should’ve known better. He should’ve known better as an adult. He should’ve known better as a city councilman,” Bentsen said.
Councilman Johnson chairs the city’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He did not return multiple messages from FOX 4. When we showed up at his committee meeting, he left early and ducked out a back exit to avoid our cameras.
When FOX 4 tried to catch up with Councilman Johnson at his weekly business session meeting and full City Council meeting, he was a no-show two weeks in a row.
Morris-Looker complained that Johnson’s insurance company is giving her the run-around, suggesting it might not cover her $1,000 damage deductible.
“He’s affecting my life but there’s nothing really that’s going to affect him right now. He’s not out of a vehicle, he’s not out of money because of it,” she said.
Councilman Johnson’s insurance company sent Morris-Looker an email that reads in part: “On our Automobile Policy, Intentional Acts which cause damage are usually excluded, or not covered.”
“That’s insane, it’s his fault they shouldn’t not cover my vehicle.” Morris-Looker said.
FOX 4 asked Russ Johnson’s insurance company to explain its policy but they would only provide the following statement: “Liberty Mutual Insurance does not publicly discuss individual claims.”
The independent witness, Bentsen, said he thinks the councilman should have to pay Morris-Looker’s $1,000 dollar deductible.
“I think the judge should order him to pay the deductible. I think that would be awesome especially with him being the chair of the city’s Transportation Committee.”
Councilman Johnson has a municipal court date on July 9th for careless driving. In the mean-time, Morris-Looker said she’s still waiting for her insurance company and Liberty Mutual to decide who’s paying for her damages.
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