FOX 5 EXCLUSIVE: Drivers say unpaved manhole on DC street damaged their vehicles, caused fire

A West Virginia couple is recovering from injuries they sustained while heading out on a dinner date in the nation's capital. They were simply driving down a Northwest D.C. street that was being repaved when their car slammed into a manhole cover. FOX 5 has learned that this was not an isolated incident.

Abby Rice and James Cash were traveling on Reno Road, which had been stripped of its asphalt. However, the manhole covers were still elevated and there were no signs that told them to go around. They ended up hitting one so hard that the airbags in their vehicle deployed. It also sparked a fire that burned the backseats.

A week after the crash, Rice's face is still bruised and swollen.

"My knees twisted - my legs were on the dash," she said.

We learned about their crash from FOX 5 viewer Bryan Dorland, who sent us a message on Facebook with a picture of Rice's car. It turns out Dorland also hit a manhole cover on the night before the couple's crash, which caused $1,500 worth of damage to the undercarriage of his vehicle.

Reno Road has since been repaved.

Rice said the officer who responded to the scene of her crash told her she wasn't alone in hitting the manhole cover on Reno Road.

"We were like the 14th or 15th accident," said Rice.

The couple believes a simple warning to go around would have helped.

"The construction doesn't even put out like wording there is a manhole," Rice said. "Or at least shut down the road or something. That is not safe for people."

Reno Road in the area of the manhole has since been repaved.

FOX 5 reached out to the District Department of Transportation about the incidents on Reno Road and the department said in a statement:

DDOT is actively working to improve and resurface the streets at Reno Road and Van Ness Street NW. If any members of the public have experienced damage to their vehicles, they should contact the DC Office of Risk Management at 202-727-8600 or visit their website at to file a claim for the damages.

Rice and Cash said they have gotten an attorney and will seek legal action.