Family of ferry accident to receive rental car refund

A visiting Taiwanese family whose rental car was pushed off the Balboa Island Ferry and into the harbor Friday morning will have the cost of their car refunded, authorities said.

Sean Busking, vice president of Fox Rent A Car — which has rental locations at airports worldwide and locally, including at John Wayne Airport and LAX — said in a phone interview Monday that the company decided to give a full refund to the Changs for the period they rented their Dodge minivan. He also said the company offered to give them a free rental for the duration of their vacation, although they have since found other accommodations.

"We just wanted to make sure they were taken care of," Busking said.

Initial reports from Newport Beach Police Assn. said the Changs, who declined interviews after Friday's incident, were denied a refund.

According to the association's release sent Friday, "Despite explaining to them the collision was not the fault of the family, the rental car agency refused to provide them with a replacement vehicle or refund their 10 days of rental fees."

In turn, the two Newport Beach police associations arranged for a replacement vehicle from another rental agency so the Changs "could continue on with their vacation and recover from this traumatic incident," according to the release.

Police said a Mercedes-Benz driver, a Balboa Island resident, hit the accelerator instead of the brake and rammed into the Changs' minivan, pushing it from the ferry dock and into the harbor. All four family members were pulled to safety by two passersby on boats.

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