HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – A Hampton woman is sick and tired of her go-arounds with insurance after a suspected DWI driver hit her house about three months ago.

She was afraid something was going to happen sooner rather than later, but her three-month battle over trying to get it all fixed had her at the end of her rope. 

So, she called 10 On Your Side. 

It was around 2:30 a.m. Feb. 15 when an alleged drunk driver in a pickup truck came barreling down Lasalle Avenue and took out Michele Hamilton’s front porch. She called because she said insurance companies are giving her the run-around. 

The man driving was James Mayo Jr., who was arrested and charged with DWI-third offense in 10 years. He remains in the Hampton City Jail.

The pickup took out one of Hamilton’s trees slamming the tree through the neighbor’s window. 

“He just said ‘Ma’am, Ma’am, Ma’am, I’m sorry,’ that’s all he said,” Hamilton said.  

Hamilton hired a structural engineer paid for by her homeowners’ insurance, Nationwide.  

The findings include this: “The area severely damaged …This work will entail both structural and cosmetic repair and replacement.”

The engineer also does not believe the underlying structure sustained permanent damage.  

Hamilton hired a contractor who estimated the damage with materials and labor to cost $85,500.

“I wasn’t surprised (it was so high) because the general contractors that came through said it would probably exceed that inside and outside and that is just for the outside,” Hamilton said.

About the same time her homeowner’s insurance, Nationwide, itemized a detailed valuation of damages capping it at about $29,000. It was very detailed at more than 20 pages.  

Nationwide said it is unable to accept Hamilton’s estimate from her contractor for these three reasons: 

  • The estimate does not provide unit cost or labor and material breakdowns for the proposed work. 
  • The scope of repairs appears to exceed the actual vehicle damage to the outside of the dwelling. 
  • Like, kind & quality items are not listed for some of the descriptions on the estimate.  

“They said they aren’t going to pay the $85,000,” Hamilton said. “When they told me that I did not say anything. I called you.”

We asked her why she called 10 On Your Side.

“I figured you could probably help us,” Hamilton said.

We worked quickly to call all the numbers Hamilton could give us.  

10 On Your Side called her insurance, Nationwide, and driver James Mayo’s insurance which is Trexis One Insurance Corporations and is capped at $40,000 of coverage for Mayo, who remember, is now in jail.   

Neither of the insurance specialists would allow us to record their voices, but Trexis is going to reach out again to Hamilton to see what can be done. 

Nationwide public relations consultant Kevin Kemper emailed 10 On Your Side. 

“Thanks for reaching out,” Kemper said. “While we don’t comment on individual claims, we are aware of the situation and are working to resolve the issue.”