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Driver wants city to pay damages after wrecking car on neglected stretch of road

By Gerry May

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    SHREVEPORT, Louisiana (KTBS) — A woman wants the city to pay damages after she totaled her car in what is described as a pit on a street in Highland.

Christy Williams says the engine’s damaged and the frame bent on her 2006 Pontiac Solstice convertible. She says a repair shop advised that it’s not safe to drive. So she has to replace her car.

“I just started crashing and crashing. I didn’t know what was going on,” she says of the accident last September on Olive near Creswell.

That’s where a repair patch more than 50 feet long is visible in the westbound lane. A witness who lives across the street, Sandra Simpson, says the hole was repaired a couple of weeks after Williams’ wreck. But she says the hole, possibly two feet deep in places, remained open for up to six months. She says there was usually orange cones and a warning sign.

“I called and asked them after several months because I felt like it had been left open longer than I think it should be,” Simpson says. “I was told they were waiting on concrete. Well, in my estimation it was about two months later that (Williams), being car number three, ran through it.”

Simpson says there was a fourth driver that got rear-ended after hitting their brakes while trying to avoid the mess.

Williams says there were no cones when she drove through. She says they had been knocked to the side.

“The police told me an SUV had to be pulled out of the hole the night before with a tow truck,” Williams says.

As for the city not fixing the hole sooner, or barricading the long opening, Williams says, “They need to get their butts in gear and do their jobs because people’s lives are at stake. I could’ve been killed.”

Simpson says when she called the city’s risk management office to make a claim, it was rejected.

“He basically told me, ‘Miss Williams, you didn’t you see the fact it had grass growing out of it? You should’ve seen it.’ I said, ‘No. That’s even more reason you guys should have already had it fixed.'”

Simpson confirmed the neglected hole in the road had grass growing in it.

“There was grass in the hole. And when you walked up to the hole, you could see it was full of grass,” she said.

Lyman McKellar, a spokesman for the City of Shreveport, told KTBS 3 News of Williams’ claim, “The city will be happy to investigate.”

Simpson says the city has opened up the road to work in the same area as much as eight times in the five years she has lived there. She says it was repaired again about two weeks after Williams’ wreck.

Simpson pointed to a water leak from an alley down to Olive that may be undermining the road. KTBS 3 News traced the leak to the backyard of a property up the alley.

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