San Francisco woman left with $1K+ car damage from storm-induced pothole

Caltrans says it currently has crews working 12-hour shifts to try to fix as many potholes as possible.

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Saturday, February 3, 2024
SF woman left with $1K+ car damage from storm-induced pothole
A San Francisco woman is left with more than $1,000 in car damages from freeway potholes caused by the latest Bay Area storm.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- They're seemingly everywhere along Bay Area roads. Potholes, many of them made worse by this week's stormy weather, wrecking havoc on people's cars.

"The wheel has a 10-inch crack in it," said JL Chiemingo.

San Francisco resident JL Chiemingo tells us she was going to work Thursday when she drove over this massive pothole on 280 North near the 101 split.

The damage to her car, estimated to cost her well over $1,000.

Money JL says will place a financial strain on her family.

MORE: Less than 4% of Bay Area Caltrans pothole, other damage claims approved in recent years: data

"I feel like I literally did nothing wrong. I just was driving to work and there was no way to avoid that," Chiemingo said.

JL tells us she's not the only one who fell victim to that pothole either.

On Thursday morning, she said there were at least three other drivers who had to pull over after they ran over it as well.

At Juarez Tires and Brakes, it was a similar story.

"We had taken seven cars in the day for so many potholes in the city," said Joel Juarez.

VIDEO: 'Pothole Vigilantes' come out at night to fix Oakland streets

An anonymous group is taking on the issue of rough roads by fixing potholes on their own in Oakland.

Owner Joel Juarez says he thinks the problem is getting worse.

"This is my first time in three years of this business with so many people having the same trouble," he said.

Caltrans says it currently has crews working 12-hour shifts to try to fix as many potholes as possible.

The one that damaged JL's car remained unfilled Friday - getting bigger by the hour.

With more storms coming, it can be difficult for Caltrans to keep up.

MORE: Pothole damage to your vehicle? Caltrans program may reimburse you up to $10,000

"What we saw this past storm system, it brought really heavy downpours across the Bay Area, from the North Bay all the way down to the South Bay. With those downpours, those opened up these potholes that we were able to fix before the storm, reopened," said Caltrans spokesperson Pedro Quintana.

Caltrans says they do have a system where you can submit claims for reimbursement if a pothole damages your car.

But a recent ABC7 News I-Team investigation shows that for the first half of 2023, less than 1% of those claims were actually approved.

A sobering statistic for people like JL, who say they think people should be offered more help.

"Honestly, I feel like I could cry. I really wish they could help me out because I'm a yoga teacher and I'm really trying to do my best," she said.

After the initial report, a Caltrans spokesperson contacted ABC7 News for Chiemingo's contact information to assist her with her claim. The spokesperson also said crews are currently working to fix the pothole.

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live