Sidewalk squabble: Man asks city to pay for vehicle damages

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A damaged sidewalk caused costly damage to a man’s car. The sidewalk has since been patched, but not the car.

It happened in Suffolk back in December. Vernon White stopped by a home on North Street to pick up one of his friends. He went to leave and reversed his car into a hole.

“It detached the bumper to my car and messed my transmission line up,” said White.

White says an auto shop estimated it would cost about $3,500 to fix the damages. He is on disability, so without any help, he’s not sure how long it will take to pay for his car to be fixed.

He reported the damage to the city, hoping they would fix it. But so far, he’s still stuck.

“After I reported it, they were right back out here in a week to fix the hole,” White said. “So they did come and fix the hole, but haven’t had no luck with my truck yet.”

The city says after White’s complaint, they paved the sidewalk and driveway as a courtesy. They also said the apron of the sidewalk falls under the city’s right of way. However, because there were no previous complaints about the hole, the city cannot cover the cost of fixing White’s car.

White says the response didn’t really help him. He said, “I really feel bad that I’m getting ignored and getting treated like this when it happened on city property, so I have a bad feeling on me, I don’t have my vehicle.”

White is not the only person frustrated with the sidewalks on North Street.

“I’ve had problems here for years,” said Armand Cocco, who has lived on North Street for 30 years.

He says White’s accident didn’t surprise him.

“There’s been a hole over there for the longest time that I know of,” said Cocco.

Cocco also says the city isn’t out there as much as he had hoped.

As for White, he’s continuing to rely on friends and family until he can pay.

“I’m stuck,” White said.

The city’s insurance company says they had no record of the city working on the street in the last five years, so they are not legally responsible for what happened there.