Driver upset after vehicle breaks down from I-95 pot hole, VDOT rejects claim

Driver upset after vehicle breaks down from I-95 pot hole, VDOT rejects claim

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Jade Harper says it's been difficult over the past couple of months while her 1997 Nissan Sports Quest Van has been out of commission. It all stems back to July 25 when she says she hit a pot hole on the I-95 South ramp onto Chippenham Parkway.

"I don't have my vehicle, I can't get to work like I need to," Harper said. "I can't get to doctor's appointments like I'm supposed to. That pot hole has been there, I knew about the pot hole before and wasn't able to dodge it because of debris on either side of the road, so I had to go directly over it. I hit the pot hole, my vehicle started to make a funny noise and I said, 'let me keep driving because maybe there's something a little loose,' I didn't worry about it. But then my engine started jerking and I got worried about it."

Moments later, the vehicle broke down. She got two estimates and both put repair costs at more than $2,000. Harper filed a claim with VDOT to cover the cost of her repairs.

"Around about September, I received a letter in the mail rejecting my claim, and when I asked why, they said it's because they check the roads weekly," Harper said.

VDOT said it was not responsible for a pothole that had been previously unreported by drivers and undetected by its crews who weekly scour the roads.

"That pothole has been there for years, and if you check the roads weekly, you would have found it," Harper said. "There's just no excuse. There's no amount of rain, sleet, snow or ice or salt that could have made that pot hole within a week."

VDOT says immediately after Harper reported the pot hole, they dispatched a crew to fix it and sent us a report and picture as proof. But Harper says when she checked the same location weeks later, the same pothole was still there. She provided pictures she took while at the scene.

"It was no different. There were no cones, no flags nothing to indicate that someone had been out there to try to look at that pothole."

Jade says the hole was eventually fixed, but her van is still broken. She isn't giving up. She's reached out to her senator, an attorney, and 12 On Your Side. She wants an independent investigation. She says she's pressing the issue not just for herself, but for others.

"Because nobody else should have to go through this," Harper said.

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