Drivers struggle with potholes; City of Tulsa denies claims to pay for vehicle damages

In the middle of December, while driving to work, Justin Calvert hit a huge pothole on the intersection of Yale Avenue and 26th Street.

"Five pounds of pressure came out of my tire just from hitting it," Calvert said, showing a picture on his phone of his 2009 Mercedes.

Calvert called the number on the City of Tulsa's website to report the pothole, but days later driving along the same route...

"I hit the pothole again and it blew out my tire," Calvert said.

His bill added up to more than $600 in damages.

He filed a complaint with the city asking them to pay $360 of the cost.

They denied it.

"They said there was no record of anyone reporting issues with that street before my incident," he said.

Tulsa's policy states that if the city is unaware of a road hazard they are not liable to reimburse drivers for their damages.

"If the city was liable for everything that caused damage to anything throughout the city, the city would definitely be broke," Tulsa's Street Maintenance Manager Tim McCorkell explained.

But according to city records, Calvert reported a pothole on Dec. 16 then filed a complaint with the city after his tire blew out on Dec. 18.

"If we fill the pothole within the first 24 hours of when it's reported, then we're not liable," McCorkell said.

Then there's the story of Kermit Perrodin and his wife.

She hit a massive pothole on 45th Street and Sheridan Avenue on Dec.23, which caused hundreds of dollars in damage.

She reported it, but the city denied her claim because they said they had no knowledge of that pothole before the accident.

And the Perrodin's say, that just doesn't make sense.

"How am I supposed to call them telling them there's a pothole when I don't know it's there?" Perrodin asked with frustration.

And for Calvert, according to city policy, he followed all the rules. 

2NEWS Problem Solvers found out that if you call the Customer Care Line before or after its scheduled hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. it gets diverted to the City of Tulsa's water department.

This could cause your complaint to get lost in the system, which is what may have happened when Calvert called the first time.

For more information, visit the city's website

Print this article Back to Top