UPDATE: A spokesperson for Tennessee American Water tells Channel 3 that the utility had their insurance issue several checks for the North Holtzclaw Avenue sinkhole damages.
They also say that they followed up with all the drivers who were impacted that contacted the utility and asked them for receipts of out of pocket expenses, including insurance deductibles.
PREVIOUSSTORY: A water main break that created a sinkhole on a busy Chattanooga street is fixed but the drivers who hit the hole, are still dealing with the impact. Channel 3 was on scene last week as drivers were left to call tow trucks and change tires after hitting what they thought was a puddle. No one was hurt -- but drivers don't want to foot the bill for the damage to their vehicles.
Crews with Tennessee American say a 12-inch water main broke underground and created the problem.
Eric Perry is one of the drivers who drove straight into the sinkhole on Holtzclaw Avenue last week. Now he and others say it's the water company's responsibility to fix the damages the sinkhole did to their vehicles.
After a week of driving on a spare tire Eric Terry's car is finally repaired with a hefty bill to show for it. He is now asking the Tennessee American Water to help foot the bill. “If it was something that was on my property, or something I owned that caused it. I am going to have some liability,” said Eric Terry.
Not all of the drivers have their vehicles back yet. Tina Morgan’s car is still in the shop. “We still do not have it back, still can't give us an estimate. So we are still without a vehicle and had to rent one,” said Tina Morgan.
Paying almost $500 out of pocket for towing fees and rental car fees she hopes the water company steps up. “It was their pipes, their equipment that broke. If it was just a regular sinkhole people would have seen it, it was their pipes that broke and filled up with water in the hole. Nobody knew what they were driving into. I don't feel it was my fault. I didn't see the hole.”
As the holidays approach these drivers say there's a better place that money could go. “It would be nice right here at Christmas. It is a big expense to be out. Got all these people money getting their cars fixed. Now is my insurance going to go up Are they going to cancel on me because it’s a claim? Because I don't feel it’s my fault either.”
“That was Christmas presents. Not a big dent, not a major thing, but still a dent. An expense I wasn't expecting,” said Terry.
Channel 3 reached out to Tennessee American Water. Representatives say they are still reaching out to customers whose cars were damaged last week and reviewing the claims filed through their insurance company.
Tennessee American is asking for anyone with damage as a result of what happened here on Holtzclaw Avenue to give them a call at 423-771-4700