Tire-killing pothole on Southfield Fwy. fixed

A pothole in the right lane of the Southfield Freeway near Joy Road in Detroit swallowed a few vehicle tires Tuesday morning.

At one point, there were as many as 10 cars lined up on the freeway's shoulder with busted wheels.

Some of the cars had to be removed by tow trucks due to the damage caused by the pothole.

Diane Cross, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Transportation, said the pavement pit has been fixed since then.

She said an MDOT Freeway Courtesy Patrol driver spotted vehicles disabled by the pothole at about 10:18 a.m. and called Wayne County's Road Division, which sent a crew out to fill the pothole about an hour later. 

Cross said the pothole hobbled 17 cars, each with two flat tires.

Clarence Williams' wife was among the unlucky drivers.

"For the whole year, I've replaced six wheels, six tires," he said as he changed the driver's side tires on her Mercedes after she hit the giant pothole. "Now that both wheels are done, two more wheels, two more tires.

Stranded drivers with damaged wheels and tires are lined up along the northbound Southfield Freeway Tuesday near the Joy Road overpass.

"I can't turn it in to insurance company because when I turned it in before last year, they went up on my insurance $2,000, so I have to pay out of my pocket," he said. "We paying all these taxes on the road and we still have to go through all this stuff. That wheel is damaged; that's a $600 wheel."

David Jarrett, who was a passenger in the car, said hitting the pothole was a jarring experience.

"We were coming up, doing normal speed and when you come over that hill, you couldn't see anything with it in the shadow of the overpass," he said. "We dropped in that hole and we ended up in a row of 12 cars lined up here on the side."

Jarrett said potholes like this one are one of the reasons he doesn't drive anymore.

"You can't even drive your car," he said. "With insurance, I got a car I don't drive because of the potholes and I have to get me a clunker to drive."

To report a pothole on interstates and freeways statewide, call MDOT's pothole line at (888) 296-4546 or submit an online form