IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. - A one-year-old boy died when the family's golf cart struck a pothole and flipped over, according to the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
"Some days are the worst of the worst and this is one of those situations," said Trooper Jeffrey Swagger. "Not only as a Trooper, but also as a parent, I can't imagine what this family is dealing with and going through."
Denver's Kipton Jester, who is one-year-old, was pronounced dead at the hospital. He was sitting on his father's lap in the right front passenger seat at the time of the crash, Swagger said.
There were a total of three adults and four children on the golf cart at the time. All were family members, officials said.
The driver, Andrew Jester, 33, of Mooresville, also had a one-year-old boy on his lap at the time. Sitting on the rear-facing back seat was another adult and two three-year-old girls. The rest of the family sustained "varying levels of non-life threatening injuries," Swagger said. They were taken to Lake Normal Regional Medical Center where they were treated and released.
Speed was not a factor and no charges are expected, Swagger said. He says the golf cart overturned due to a "mechanical malfunction in the steering" from striking the pothole.
The accident happened around 5:40 p.m. Sunday on Pintail Run Lane in Iredell County near Mooresville. The neighborhood road, which begins at Spring Run Road, is considered private. A posted sign at the entrance warns "state maintenance ends."
"Very bad problem and only getting worse," said Dave Sirota, who says he has lived in this neighborhood for 15 years and has been complaining about potholes for almost the entire time.
"I called the city, the state, the town, the Department of Transportation," he said.
Sirota, who lives in front of where the accident occurred, says he didn't know the road was private until he first called to complain. He says he pays the same amount in taxes as his neighbors who live on the section of road that is state owned. Because Pintail Run Lane is considered private, he says his concerns have gone nowhere.
"They were sick of hearing me complain," he said.
He says his complaints prompted officials to put up the "state maintenance ends" sign at the entrance to the neighborhood.
So, he and others neighbors have taken matters into their own hands - filling potholes themselves with tar and concrete.
"This was a pretty massive size hole," Sirota said, pointing to the pothole in front of his house. "As you can tell by the amount of concrete that we had to pour inside this one here."
Driving down the road, you can see it is littered with several potholes of varying sizes. FOX 46 asked Swagger what, if anything, can be done to get the state to take ownership of the road.
"The beginning would be for the homeowners to have a discussion with the North Carolina Department of Transportation," said Swagger, "to see what could possibly be done about that."
FOX 46 will follow up with the Department of Transportation after the Memorial Day holiday
Sirota and other neighbors say they are heartbroken about Kipton's death. Several neighbors believe if the state had taken ownership of the road, the accident could have been prevented.
They hope something can be done to prevent it from happening again.
"This is crazy," said Sirota. "We just need to get these roads fixed.".