Neighbors seek help to fix private road after child dies in golf cart crash

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — A tragedy in Mooresville could lead to change in a problem Channel 9 has been investigating since last year.

A 1-year-old died over the weekend after the golf cart he was riding in hit a pothole and flipped over.

“When the golf cart hit a pothole, there was a mechanical failure in the steering wheel system and that caused the golf cart to turn abruptly and overturn,” said Trooper Jeffrey Swagger, of the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

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The accident happened on Pintale Run Lane. Neighbors said they’ve been asking the state for help to improve the road for years.

"A bunch of neighbors tried to patch some of these roads as it got worse through the years," one resident said.

Part of the road is private, which means residents are responsible for repairs.

"The last price we got was $270,000, and that's a lot of money for each individual if you divide it up,” resident Stump Lewis said. "That's just to fix the road.”

Neighbors asked the state to take over maintenance of the road.

"The state says we've got to bring it up to state specs before they can take it over,” Lewis said.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation sent the following statement to Channel 9:

“We are saddened to learn of this accident, and our hearts go out to this family.

“By law, NCDOT is not allowed to spend money to repair or maintain a private road. State law also requires that the road meet certain standards before NCDOT can add it to the state system and take over maintenance. Examples of the standards that must be met include, the road must be 18-feet wide, be in acceptable condition of maintenance and meet minimum housing-density requirements.

“If the road does not meet these standards, the homeowners are required to make the necessary improvements.”

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Channel 9 has reported on the issue in the past.

Reporter Tina Terry investigated other neighborhoods since last year. In all cases, residents couldn’t afford repairs and lacked the expertise to make changes.

In some cases, residents could no longer drive on the roads because they were too dangerous, and had to walk long distances to get home.

Channel 9 contacted state Sen. Vickie Sawyer (R-Iredell) who pledged to try and find an answer for residents.

"We need to invite all the stakeholders to the table and try to get a commonsense answer to a real public problem,” she said.

Other lawmakers told Channel 9 about something called the Paving Participation Program, which allows residents to work with their county tax departments to pay off the cost of bringing roads up to state standards over time.

Channel 9 asked how many times NCDOT had taken over roads in our area. The state said it could not provide that information immediately.

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