A 51-year-old grandmother remains in a coma after a motorcycle crash police say was caused by a pothole on Interstate 40, and newly released TDOT records show the pothole may have been known to road crews in the days leading up to the crash.
Records show on Saturday, May 5 a TDOT crew was dispatched to the exact mile marker of the crash location for emergency pothole repairs.
Spokesperson B.J. Doughty says it’s unclear whether the specific pothole was fixed.
“This could have been an old pothole that was patched and the fix popped out because of all the rain we got,” Doughty said. “It’s difficult to say but they are telling us that is not the specific place they patched on Saturday.”
Doughty also told News4 part of the uncertainty stems from the fact there were a number of different potholes in the exact same area.
Doughty said after the emergency repairs were made Saturday, TDOT received four voicemails about additional potholes in the same area.
An administrative assistant forwarded the messages to the maintenance office Monday morning and a crew was dispatched to do permanent paving work.
Doughty said the crew was en route to do the paving work when the motorcycle crash occurred.
“I think it’s just unfortunate timing but certainly that’s the nature of potholes,” Doughty said. “You don’t know when they’re going to happen.”
The crash victim’s family is speaking out for the first time in an exclusive interview with News4.
Wendy Sims was on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend Mark Love, who said he hit the same pothole on his motorcycle but did not crash.
“I knew I was going to hit it. It was a white slab of concrete, just like it was cut and pulled out of there,” Love said. “There was nothing in there, we’re talking 10 inches.”
After learning of the pothole complaints from the days leading up to the crash, Love told News4 TDOT should take some responsibility.
“That’s unacceptable to me,” he said. “That girl’s laying in a bed up there because of somebody’s negligence. Somebody should be held responsible for that.”
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