Couple claims State Patrol trashed their car and won't pay for it

TACOMA, Wash. -- A Tacoma couple claims detectives with the Washington State Patrol trashed their car and are now refusing to pay for it.

In January, the state patrol searched their car for evidence after a suspect shot at their along I-5. She says she thought her car was exploding from the inside out, but it turns out it was bullets coming from the outside in.

"I was absolutely terrified. I was on my way to work, so that's the least thing you expect," said the victim, who wants to remain anonymous because whoever shot her Dodge Charger is still on the loose.

The bullets pierced the trunk and roof, the upholstery and bounced off the center console. The woman's face was struck by bullet fragments.

Troopers say somebody fired 6 shots at her car and one at a minivan on I-5 North in Tacoma. When she called 911 that day, troopers asked if they could take her car to check for evidence. But the victim says the car was "basically destroyed inside" when troopers returned the car a couple days later.

She claims WSP detectives ripped apart the upholstery, headrests, the headliner and a vent.

"The damages that were caused are about $7,000," she said.

She says those same detectives told her and her boyfriend, who owns the car, to file a claim with WSP.

"To just turn in the paperwork and everything would be fine," she said.

But after a month and a half, she says the WSP finally got back and denied the claim.

"Those components were damaged as a result of the bullet penetration and were really already a total loss," she said.

WSP spokesperson Bob Calkins said everything damaged by bullets in the car would have had to be replaced anyway and by retrieving the bullets, detectives didn't add to that damage.

"So, we don't feel like the additional damage getting at those bullets is the responsibility of the tax payers of the state of Washington," the spokesperson said.

And now a couple is out thousands of dollars.

"I feel like they're here to protect and serve and I was almost victimized twice," the victim said.

Troopers say they feel for the couple, but they say they didn't cause more damage than those bullets.

The woman doesn't think her insurance company will cover the loss.