Crash Victim Owed Restitution 7 Years Later

Taxpayers are paying for an accident victim's treatment, even though a judge ordered restitution from the owner of the car that hit him.

A broken neck seven years ago didn't break Anthony Cato's determination.

The driver who struck Cato ran a red light, but the car belonged to the driver's mother - Leslie Wyland - who didn't have insurance.

She went to jail for 90 days in 2007.

"I understand the car was in my name but it wasn't supposed to be," Wyland told Fact Finders over phone.

Over the last 7 years, she hasn't paid any of the five thousand dollars in court ordered restitution.

"I am truly sorry about what happened to him but i don't have any money. I'll give him whatever I can, pay him $25 dollars a month until I can do more," says Wyland.

Cato says he needs some of that restitution now.

Tony's orthopedic doctor has prescribed a special bionic knee brace that will help him walk in the long run. It's about $600 dollars more than Medicaid will cover so he's suing to collect restitution seven years later.

"I have to go through all the hoops now and i don't feel that's fair."

Fact Finders is there when a sheriff's process server looks for Leslie Wyland. Ironically, her son who caused the crash takes a message.

He declined an interview.

But Cato says words won't pay for a new knee.

"That person can say 'I owe it.' So what?" worries Cato.

"'I can die with it, he's just never going to get their money.'"

That's why he wants a law change that jail hangs over restitution long after a sentence is served.

He believes it would help prevent victims from doing all the heavy lifting when it comes to collecting payment.

After a call from Fact Finders, Omaha's city prosecutor reviewed the case.

He says because Leslie Wyland wasn't placed on probation once she did her time, it's case closed.

The case goes to trial in civil court in March.


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