Pedestrian who fell in hole says he's suing MLGW - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Pedestrian who fell in hole says he's suing MLGW

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Memphis man says he's suing MLGW after he fell into a hole and broke several ribs.

Neighbors who live along North McLean Boulevard in Midtown say ongoing utility work there has left huge, poorly marked holes they say are dangerous.

MLGW crews have been digging holes to replace natural gas lines all around Memphis. 

"We are replacing old cast iron pipe with new PV pipe, which is just a stronger, more durable pipe," said Chris Stanley with MLGW.

But after a heavy rain Memorial Day weekend, Les Birchfield found out the hard way how deep the holes on North McLean really are.

"I stepped into what I thought was a shallow puddle, and it turned out to be five or six foot deep," he said.

Birchfield says the hole was filled with water. He says it was only blocked on two sides, so he walked between the barricades.   

"Of course, lost my balance and fell against the jagged edge of the asphalt on my lower rib cage, and broke three ribs," he said.

The barricades are a clear sign to motorists to avoid that side of the road. But if a pedestrian or cyclist on the sidewalk loses their balance, the piece of plastic in place probably won't break the fall.

But MLGW says they're trying to fix the problem.

"We've gone out and we've put plywood, so that if anybody else were to step between the barricades, they will be on plywood - and that will be safer for them," said Stanley.

Birchfield says he's glad to hear the problem has been solved.  

"The scary part, you know, is if I would have hit my head," he said. "I would have fallen off in there and drowned, you know."

Birchfield says he has contacted an attorney and plans to file a lawsuit. 

MLGW advises pedestrians that if they see barricades, they can assume danger is there - always walk around the barricades.  

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