Woman seeks $1,805 from Modesto after car sinks in dirt

kvaline@modbee.comMay 5, 2014 

A woman is seeking $1,805 from the city for the cost of fixing her car after it sunk about a foot into the dirt as she parked it in front of her uncle’s west Modesto home in March.

The front of Elizabeth Lopez’s 1995 Lexus was parked above where a city contractor had dug a trench to lay a new water line, said her uncle, Manuel Rosales. Rosales said he suspects the contractor’s workers did not compact the soil enough when they refilled the trench. He said the soil gave way after heavy rains, and the front end of his niece’s car got stuck.

“It sunk about a foot, just the front,” Rosales said. He said his neighborhood does not have curbs and sidewalks, just dirt alongside the street.

Lopez could not be reached for comment.

Rosales lives on Regal Road. He said the contractor replaced the water mains, laid new water connections and installed water meters on his street and two other nearby streets about a year ago. Rosales said a trench at one of his neighbors’ places also sank because the soil had not been compacted enough, though a car was not parked over it. He said the city fixed both holes by filling them with more dirt.

Lopez filed a claim against the city last week seeking reimbursement for the cost of repairing her car. The car’s front bumper, front suspension and paint were damaged, according to the claim. Rosales said the city sent someone to take pictures of the car, had a tow truck pull the car out of the hole and advised Lopez to file a claim if her car was damaged.

Modesto Risk Manager Mary Akin said she was reviewing the claim and could not comment.

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at kvaline@modbee.com or (209) 578-2316.

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