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Woman trapped in hole sues Midwest City, ODOT

Midwest City firefighters rescue a woman who was trapped in a hole on Oct. 19.
Photo provided.

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon 

A woman who fell into a hole and was trapped overnight is suing the City of Midwest City and the Department of Transportation for damages.

On Oct. 19, firefighters rescued Tiffany Harris from a hole near NE 23rd St. and St. Luke Ave. in Midwest City. Harris told rescue crews that she fell into the hole the evening before while walking along NE 23rd St.  She was unable to climb out and stayed there overnight until she was able to flag down a passerby about noon.

According to the lawsuit, Harris was trapped for at least 12 hours and sustained serious injuries from the fall. She said she’s incurred more than $100,000 in medical bills since the fall, and the cost of future medical bills is unknown.

The hole was about 18-20 inches in diameter and about 8-12 feet deep, according to officials. It was about three feet away from the roadway on the south side NE 23rd St., near St. Luke. Ave.

Midwest City officials said they were not sure where the hole came from.

About an hour after the incident, city crews filled in the hole with dirt to alleviate the hazard.

In the lawsuit, Harris claims the city and ODOT were “negligent in digging the hole or allowing the hole to be dug.” She also says the defendants failed to provide notice or warning about the hazard.

Harris filed the lawsuit in Oklahoma County District Court on March 22.

According to the lawsuit, Harris provided notice of her claim to the City of Midwest City on Nov. 22, 2022. She said she has not received a response from the city, as of Feb. 20. She said she provided notice of her claim to the Office of Risk Management Administration on Feb. 9, and ODOT replied with a liability denial on March 9.

Midwest City officials did not comment on the pending lawsuit.

An ODOT spokesperson offered sympathy for the situation, but said it is in the City of Midwest City’s jurisdiction as it occurred on the city’s right-of-way.

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