Whittney Williams is angry with the Vernon Parish Police Jury for denying her claim for damages she said was caused by a pothole on her road, Belview Road.
Williams has lived on the road for a while and knows about the damage all along Belview Road. She even knows the exact spot where the potholes are.
Unfortunately, on the night of April 21, that knowledge did not keep her from hitting one particularly deep one.
Williams said while driving home in the rain that night it was impossible for her to avoid hitting the deep pothole. There was a line of oncoming traffic that prevented her from crossing onto the other side of the road, and there was a line of trees that prevented her from using the shoulder.
Instead, Williams hit the pothole.
The next morning she woke up to find her “new-to-her” car with a flat tire.
Later that afternoon Williams’ fiance, Dusti Parker, took to Facebook to vent about the hole and they say shortly after that, the deep pothole on Belview Road was suddenly filled in.
“I made a FB post and the next morning they were patching holes on our road,” Parker said.
Sometime earlier in April, Williams noticed someone spray painted “start” and “stop” on two different sections of Belview Road. The pothole she hit is located approximately 500 feet outside of those markers near where the police jury jurisdiction begins and the City of Leesville ends.
Completely frustrated, Williams and her fiance called the police jury about filing a claim for the damaged tire. According to the couple, they were advised to get four estimates for the damage and turn them into the police jury with a claim.
The police jury was provided with estimates from Henry Tire and Wheel for $169.17, Morris Tire Services of DeRidder for $187.86 and K&I Tires for $211.84 to accompany the claim that was filed around May 8.
At the May 13 VPPJ committee meeting it was recommended by the Vernon Parish Road Manager Carl Thompson to deny the claim and at the May 20 VPPJ regular meeting it was completely denied.
The Leesville Daily Leader spoke with Carl Thompson on two separate occasions regarding this claim on May 20.
Thompson stated that the “start” and “stop” markers on the road are for the contractor that will be working on the road in the future and so far no road work has been done on Belview Road.
Thompson was asked when the pothole on Belview road was fixed and he stated he did not know the exact date but he did admit it was right after Williams hit it.
“A crew took cold patch out there after we were told about the hole. We get out there and fix them (potholes) as soon as we can when we are told about the problem,” Thompson said.
Thompson was also asked why he recommended the police jury deny the claim and he had no answer.
Williams just wants her tire replaced.
“I’m not the reason for the problem, I didn’t bust my tire. That damn hole did. I’m a mother, that can’t get a decent job and afford a babysitter on minimum wage. If I could, I’d pay for that damn tire myself. But even then that’s not right,” Williams said.
“Now we have a tire with a plug in it on a new vehicle because the parish is more concerned with installing new roundabouts rather than fix the issues on the roads we have now! We normally try to avoid those potholes, especially that one in particular, but that night there was no avoiding it because of oncoming traffic and traffic behind her.” Parker said.
Residents throughout Vernon Parish are tired of driving on dangerous torn up roads that are causing damage to their vehicles and are left to cover the costs as claims for damages are rarely paid.