City of Tyler found not liable for slag tire damage, offers some drivers 'good will' payment

City of Tyler found not liable for slag tire damage, offers some drivers 'good will' payment
Slag on Tyler roads in January 2018. (Source: KLTV News Staff)
Slag. (Source: KLTV News Staff)
Slag. (Source: KLTV News Staff)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Following January's ice storm, many Tyler drivers were left with punctured tires caused by slag, a metal bi-product the City of Tyler put down to help drivers keep traction on icy roads.

On March 20, the city said they have chosen an alternative product and have been processing damage claims.

"They offered me $100 for replacement of tire," says Michael Williamson, who filed a damage claim with the city. "Really I wanted the whole amount for the tire, but I'd rather take some then none."

An independent evaluation found the City of Tyler is not at fault for any damage to vehicles during January's ice storm, but city officials say that as a gesture of goodwill, those who filed damage claims may receive up to $100.

"Why would they use something that they know is a sharp object?" says Williamson. "I've never seen that slag stuff in ice storms be used, it's always salt."

Michael Williamson signed the document releasing the city from any liability in exchange for the payment.

The City of Tyler says slag has been used on icy roads for 30 years.

According to invoices from the city's accounting department, in 2014, the city purchased 42 tons of slag for $750. The following year they purchased 112 tons or 8 loads for $2,200.

Tyler resident Daniel Fields says he was not offered the $100 payment because the damage was primarily done to his windshield.

"I've had numerous estimates for the damage," says Fields. "It goes in between $3,000 and $4,000."

A claims administrator for the city says windshield damage is not considered verified damage.

In a statement, the city said, "the result of the independent evaluation found that the city is not liable for property damage caused to tires by the use of this material on the street during this ice event."

"I don't expect them to have a fleet of snow plows," says Fields. "But there are hundreds of other ways you can go about providing safety on the streets during an icy situation."

Going forward, slag will no longer be used on icy roads in the City of Tyler. Instead, city officials say they will treat major roads with the same material used by TxDOT.

The city says that as of March 16 they received 34 claims. 18 people have received the goodwill payment so far.

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