Connect to share and comment

News you wish you didn't know.

South African man misses mother's funeral due to pothole

Wannie Carstens, a South African academic, said he plans to sue the government after damage to his car from a pothole caused him to miss his mother's funeral.
South africa pothole funeral 20110304Enlarge
Potholes, the bane of motorists the world over. (Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

JOHANNESBURG — A South African professor who missed his mother's funeral after hitting a pothole said he plans to sue the government.

Wannie Carstens was on the way to his mother's funeral, traveling at about 60 miles an hour in early morning darkness, when his Mercedes-Benz hit a pothole that shredded both left tires, the Beeld newspaper reported.

Carstens, director of the school of languages at North-West University in Potchefstroom, said his car was towed to the nearest city, and the tires replaced. But he was unable to continue on his journey to Upington, about 380 miles away, due to possible damage to the car's chassis and wheel rims.

"My brother was upset, and my sister was in tears," Carstens told the newspaper.

He wants to sue the provincial government for $790 for the damage to his car, but said nothing can make up for the emotional loss of missing the funeral of a parent.

A spokesman for the roads department in South Africa's North West province admitted that the road in question needs major repairs, but said there is a lack of funding, Beeld reported.

Last year, a South African man was awarded $225,000 in damages from the department of roads in Limpopo province after he was thrown off a pickup truck when it hit a pothole. The man, who was riding in the back of the pickup truck, suffered serious injuries to his leg.

More from GlobalPost: South African grannies cross crocodile-infested river to collect old-age pensions

More from GlobalPost: Trump trophy hunt photos lead to Zimbabwe investigation

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/south-african-wannie-carstens-misses-mothers-funeral-pothole-lawsuit