Company behind W. 130 repaving says drivers at fault for getting stuck in their ditch

Perk Construction of Cleveland issued a statement
Posted at 4:46 PM, Oct 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-21 08:42:41-04

The contractor responsible for a ditch that swallowed at least two cars in Cleveland on Tuesday is defending itself against claims of sloppy work.

Multiple drivers said the work zone near 4200 West 130th Street in Cleveland was not marked clearly enough, causing them to drive their cars right into it.

“Nothing wasn’t blocked, so I just tried going in there and ended up in a ditch,” Pedro Garcia said.

But on Thursday, Perk Construction CEO Tony Cifani said in a statement the drivers were likely at fault, one day after News 5 made multiple attempts to reach him for comment.

“We installed ramping and placed drums (barrels)… pursuant to all applicable laws and regulations," the statement said. “To the extend that a driver got confused or was not paying attention… is unfortunate. However, it was not the result of any illegality or failure by our company.”

But Mo Dayum, who owns a convenience store adjacent to the project, disagrees.

“It’s as simple as taping off an area to avoid an accident,” Dayum said, “Which Perk knew of before any accidents occurred.”

Cuyahoga County Chief Construction Engineer Mike Tworzydlo agreed with Cifani, saying it did appear Perk properly placed barrels on the site, and that the addition of caution tape on an active work zone would have impeded workers, even though the tape was added following those accidents.

He added that drivers whose cars were damaged should contact Perk.

"It’s the contractor’s responsibility, if there was some damage or claim, to investigate that,” Tworzydlo said.

Perk Construction can be reached at (216) 391-1444. Tworzydlo added that people could also reach out to county engineers in their main office at (216) 348-3800 or at their field office at (216) 752-9057.

Meanwhile, Cifani also disputed Dayum’s claim that one of Perk’s employees bought beer on the job.

Surveillance video showed a man wearing a Perk construction vest purchasing beer and stashing it in his vest at lunch time on Wednesday. Cifani said in a statement that man was not a construction worker, but rather an 89-year-old relative, “who will occasionally visit our projects,” the statement read.

He added the beer was to be consumed with dinner later in the day.