Pothole could’ve caused crash day before fatal Briley Parkway wreck

Katelyn Stewart's car
Katelyn Stewart's car

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – On Monday it was revealed a pothole could be to blame for a crash that killed a 55-year-old Ashland City man.

News 2 learned it’s possible that very same pothole on Briley Parkway in west Nashville caused a dangerous crash just the day before.

“We came into a turn and there is this huge pothole,” Katelyn Stewart told News 2.

Stewart said the pothole sent her car careening into a guardrail. She and her family warned a Tennessee Department of Transportation worker who was on the scene.

Katelyn Stewart
Katelyn Stewart

“My mom made a comment and was like, ‘Y’all better get this pothole fixed before someone gets killed,’” she explained.

Just a day later, tragedy struck. John LaSalle, 55, was driving his motorcycle in the same area of Briley Parkway, near the County Hospital Road exit, when police say he saw the pothole and veered to the right to avoid it.

His motorcycle sideswiped a Honda Accord and he was thrown off into a guardrail. The Ashland City man died at the scene.

Stewart believes it could’ve been prevented.

“My car is totaled, so I figured they would have gotten someone out there to fix it, mostly with it being on a turn and on a busy highway,” she said.

TDOT spokeswoman Heather Jenson says it’s not clear whether the two crashes were caused by the same pothole.

TDOT is working to fix the many potholes left behind by this year’s harsh winter storms.

“We hope that is not the case,” she told News 2. “But we would never intentionally ignore a situation where someone says this is potentially dangerous.”

TDOT said Monday potholes are normal and expected during the winter, but this year’s back-to-back ice, snow, and rain has “essentially created a worst-case scenario,” and even previously patched holes have reopened.

Crews are working to fill the most dangerous holes first, and have been tackling the daunting task for three weeks between removing snow and ice.

For now, Stewart is driving a rental car and has a new respect for the dangers of potholes.

“Even when I see them now, I grip tighter on the steering wheel,” she said. “It’s kind of freaky right now.”

The pothole that caused the deadly Briley crash has been filled in.

Thousands more on state and local roads are still on TDOT’s to-do list.

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