Drivers frustrated with city after 5 cars damaged during Independence Avenue road work

Problem Solvers
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — At least five cars were badly damaged on one popular Kansas City street where drivers say there should have been warning signs about the recent road work.

“It felt like I thought my whole tire went off my car or there was this humongous blow out or something,” Melissa Hernandez said.

“It sheared the transmission pan back,” Gary Ramsey recalled. “It just sheared it off.”

“It immediately ripped through my oil pan and took out my exhaust,” Chris Fillmore said.

Hernandez, Ramsey and Fillmore had never met until all their cars were damaged on Independence Avenue during the last weekend in September.

Kansas City was in the process of resurfacing the road, but the three tell FOX4 Problem Solvers there were no warning signs or cones after workers left for the weekend, leaving drivers unaware of potential hazards.

Hernandez has video and photos of the scene taken shortly after her car was damaged.

She said a repair shop estimated it would cost $12,000 to repair her car, which she’s still making payments on but is no longer driveable.

Fillmore said he was forced to sell his car because he couldn’t afford the more than $2,000 repair bill. Ramsey’s repair estimate is for more than $3,000.

“It’s the only car we have,” said Ramsey who drives both himself and his daughter to work.

All three contacted the city of Kansas City for help. But the city said it wasn’t responsible. It referred them to the road contractor Fahey Construction.

Ramsey received a letter from Fahey, denying responsibility and stating that it “had all proper traffic cones in place and warning signs prior to entering the work zone and throughout the work zone.”

“That’s false,” said Ramsey, a claim that appears to be supported by photos and video of the scene, which don’t show any warning signs.

Ramsey said the whole experience has left him particularly frustrated with Kansas City, where he lives and pays taxes.

“You are letting us down as citizens,” he said.

Attorney Scott Shachtman said Ramsey’s right. The city should not be passing the buck.

Shachtman, who is not representing anyone in this case, said even if the road contractor is ultimately held responsible, the city should be making sure the public is taken care of.

“This is a city road,” Shachtman said. “It’s not a contractor’s road.”

Problem Solvers contacted Kansas City’s Public Works Department. A spokeswoman, who told us the city had received five complaints about the road, insisted the city was not responsible for roads during construction.

“The street is considered under the custody and control of the contractor,” she said.

Problem Solvers also contacted Fahey Construction and sent the company multiple photos of the scene where no warning signs were present.

Fahey said it was reopening one of the three cases we had asked them about and was still reviewing a second case. However, it’s insurance had denied a third case.

Although Fillmore’s case is one of the two still under consideration, he said he’s starting to give up hope as the months tick by.

“I’m not mad. I’m disappointed,” he said. “I can’t make everyone do the right thing.”

Hernandez and Ramsey said they’re considering filing a lawsuit if they don’t get the problem resolved. According to Shachtman, they could sue both the city and the contractor for damages.

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