Pothole May Have Caused Crash That Killed Dad, Son

Pedro Montanez may have hit pothole before entering oncoming lane
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2015 11:07 AM CST
Pothole May Have Caused Crash That Killed Dad, Son
In this Feb. 11, 2014, file photo, a car drives by a pothole in Detroit.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

A pothole may be to blame for a fatal car accident in Michigan this week. Pedro Montanez, 36, was driving his three children to school Tuesday when his 2005 Mazda 3 swerved into the oncoming lane, spun on icy roads, and was broadsided by a pickup truck. Montanez and his 9-year-old son, Steven, were killed in the crash, which left another son, 10, and daughter, 6, in critical and serious condition, respectively, Hometown Life reports. A witness told police he saw Montanez either swerve after hitting a 1.5-inch-deep pothole, or swerve to avoid it, WXYZ reports. The pothole, a couple hundred feet from the crash site, had been filled Jan. 16, but it needed to be repaired again hours after the crash, reports the Detroit Free Press.

"The investigation is not done, but the pothole could be a contributing factor," an Oakland County officer says. Police are also investigating if speed may have played a role. But "if the issue is potholes, this state is screwed because they're all over the place," a road commission rep says. He adds this particular pothole is a "constant" problem as it's in a low area where water gathers. "We're trying to patch roads as best we can with limited funds," he says. The Free Press notes legislators debated the state of Michigan's roads last year but chose to let voters decide in May whether to increase the state's sales tax to pay for fixes. Police add that a motorcyclist was left in critical condition after an accident involving a pothole in Michigan last year. (More potholes stories.)

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