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Mpls. Man Suffers Concussion, Scratched Cornea After Pothole Encounter

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Potholes can be a pain for vehicles, but one Minneapolis man literally feels the pain after an encounter with a particularly nasty pothole Tuesday night.

Dustin Duarte was driving on 42nd street East and Minnehaha Avenue at around 11 p.m. Tuesday night. Meanwhile, the rain made it especially hard for him to see how deep the potholes are.

Duarte says when he hit the pothole, the car’s airbag deployed and hit his face so hard he felt like he had been punched by a professional boxer.

“Initially, it was just shock. Immediately like, wow, what happened,” Duarte said.

Fortunately, he was able to steer the car and safely pull over, but he knew he was badly hurt.

“Immediately, I couldn’t see out of my left eye,” Duarte said.

Hoping it would get better he waited until the next day to go the hospital where he was told he had suffered a concussion and a badly scratched cornea.

“I have to see an eye specialist tomorrow,” Duarte said.

His 1994 Geo Prizm will have to be totaled.

“The repairs are definitely higher than what it’s worth,” Duarte said.

Now, Duarte wants everyone to know how dangerous potholes can be.

“I got lucky, I feel like I could have been killed. Someone else could have been hurt. This needs to be taken care of,” he said.

The street is in Minneapolis, but it is a Hennepin County road. A county crew has since patched the pothole. The county says crews are scrambling to patch as many potholes as possible

Duarte spoke to a lawyer who told him laws make it very difficult to sue the county over something like this.

“It’s downright just the little guy getting kicked around, but there’s not much we can do,” he said.

Duarte also contacted the county to see if they would be able to reimburse him for some of his expenses. He was told the county would only do that if the pothole had been reported before he hit it and the county says it had not been reported. So, none of his expenses, including missed work as a restaurant manager, are covered.

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