Jimmy John's drivers: Breaking the law to beat the clock?
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Are local drivers from a restaurant chain breaking the law to beat the clock? Jimmy John's Sandwich Shop is famous for its "Freaky Fast Delivery" slogan, but undercover cameras caught at least a half-dozen of their drivers making illegal and careless moves.
After reviewing the undercover footage, Louisville Metro police said drivers from the Jimmy John's at the corner of Floyd and Market Streets were risking accidents, possibly to make quick deliveries and more tips.
With a pledge like "Freaky Fast Delivery," it should have been no surprise that things got strange quickly when we showed up at the Jimmy John's at Floyd and Market asking questions.
"It wasn't me, man," said a Jimmy John's delivery worker who drives a black Kia.
That driver didn't even know yet what we were there to talk about, but he was the one behind the wheel of that same Black Kia days earlier doing a 180 degree turn in a crosswalk, cutting off oncoming cars.
On other trips, we saw the driver running red lights, sometimes pulling around stopped traffic to do it. When he went back to the restaurant to pick up another run, he drove right back into the crosswalk, blocking the fire hydrant and the path of people trying to cross the street. His trips are short, and his memory shorter.
"Do you always drive safe, abide by all the rules of the road?" I asked.
"Yes. Try to. Nobody's perfect, right?" the driver said as he walked away. He later refused to give his name.
"Hey, man. Bye! I don't want to talk to you," he said, before walking into the store and locking the door behind him.
Over nine days of lunch hour shifts, we saw at least a half-dozen Jimmy John's drivers making U-turns in the middle of intersections, running red lights, and heading the wrong way down a one-way street.
"I don't know what you're talking about, man," said the driver of a pickup truck spotted going the wrong way when we questioned him about it.
The driver of the Black Kia then interjected, questioning the motives behind our story.
"Watch yourself," he said. "Don't watch us. Don't watch nobody else. Pay attention to yourself before you pay attention to somebody else."
Others are paying attention. A Louisville woman named Brandi Wright is now suing the owner of that Jimmy John's and at least one other Jimmy John's in town, claiming that "Freaky Fast Delivery" landed her in the hospital. The lawsuit claims the policy encouraged a driver named Christopher Jarrard to "deliver food in an unnecessarily fast manner," causing a wreck that left Wright with "permanent injuries."
Michael Casey, the lawyer for those stores, denies the claim.
"The driver simply misjudged traffic," Casey said. The suit remains tied up in court.
Cameras even spotted one of Jimmy John's customers, Victor Lovato, getting into an argument with a Jimmy John's employee over his driving just a few feet from the store.
"I'm very frustrated," Lovato said as the Jimmy John's delivery car drove away. "I've had them almost hit me."
Lovato then noticed another Jimmy John's delivery car passing by with a badly dented bumper. "Look at that car. That's ridiculous," Lovato said. "You know, Papa John's wouldn't go for that."
Jimmy John's manager Zach Irle said the company can't be blamed for what was caught on camera because all their drivers sign an agreement promising to make those "Freaky Fast" deliveries legally.
"We try to do the best we can and monitor it, but we obviously can't monitor it when they are out away from our store," Irle said.
Now LMPD is the one promising speedy service. Lieutenant Sean Hensler, commander of the downtown patrol area, called the driving in the undercover video careless and illegal. He showed the footage to all 112 patrol officers in the district and gave them instructions to ticket Jimmy John's drivers they catch doing the same thing.
Hensler also spoke directly with the owner of that Jimmy John's to let him know the driving on the video was unacceptable. The owner told police he would correct the problem immediately.
Copyright 2014 WAVE 3 News. All Rights Reserved.