A Rockford man says a mail carrier crashed a postal service van into his vehicle, but the post office is refusing to pay for any of the damage.

John Bittner, the owner of the vehicle, is now going after the federal government in court.

“It is just a matter of getting my deductible back,” he says, “I just want to recover my deductible.”

Bittner, a 71-year-old Army veteran, says he is now suing the post office in federal court to recover the $500 deductible he had to pay to repair his vehicle after the crash.

He says he didn’t intend for this minor matter to become a federal case, but he has decided it is a battle worth fighting. ”It is not a big deal, when you think about it,” he admits, “but it is to me.”

Bittner says the postal worker pulled out and struck his vehicle after distributing mail at a row of boxes near the entrance to Barkley Creek Drive in Rockford.

“He said ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I just wasn’t looking’ and ‘I’m so sorry’,” recalls Bittner. “He apologized so many times I just kind of felt bad for him after a while.”

A post office supervisor soon arrived at the scene. Bittner says she took some pictures but refused to identify the driver. “She says you are not dealing with him and you are not dealing with me. You are dealing with the post office and the federal government. So, that is where we stand right now.”

It has been three months since the crash. Bittner first tried to get his $500 in small claims court, but someone at the courthouse decided a claim against the post office belongs in federal court. Now it’s a federal case. A spokeswoman for the post office said they would not comment on the matter while it is in litigation.