Driver wants city to pay for pothole damage

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - A run-in with a pothole put his car in the shop; a St. Louis man says the city should pay his damages.

Courtney Lockett was heading to a south city car wash but never made it. He was detoured by a pothole. Should the city pay? You decide.

"As soon as I hit the (pothole), my steering wheel shaked and I heard a big crunching noise within my car," said Lockett.

The impact blew out a tire on Lockett's Jetta and messed up the alignment. A $400 fix.

He reported the pothole on Kingshighway near Arsenal to the city.

"So I filed a claim with them, as well as the damages on the car. They repaired the pothole," he said.

However, the city denied his claim for reimbursement. A letter from a city legal investigator states there was no prior notice given to the city about the pothole and that once notified, the city fixed it.

"I don't see how they can initiate a policy that benefits not the person who was reporting the incident however other drivers can be impacted," Lockett said.

"The city and the law department are not in the business of just paying out every time someone has car trouble," said St. Louis City attorney Winston Calvert.

Calvert said the pothole policy is that each incident is dealt with on a case by case basis. Had the city not fixed the pothole after Lockett reported it and someone else's car was damaged, the city might be liable, he said.

In this particular case? "The second that the city learned about it, the city addressed it," Calvert said. "And so, the idea that the city is negligent when it did exactly what it was supposed to do seems a little bit far-fetched to me."

Lockett said he wants to bring awareness to this issue with hopes there can be a change of policy.

In the meantime, he's considering suing the city.


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