By Brandon Anderson
FRANKLINTON — Thomas Dickerson’s conflict with the N.C. Department of Transportation remains unresolved as he said Dixie Lawn Service supervisors continue to ignore his complaints.
Last September, Dickerson made a complaint to the DOT after oil was spilt on his property at 1703 Mount Olivet Road late in July. He said a tractor that was used for routine mowing in the area malfunctioned and was driven onto his property, leaving behind an oil stain about 3.5 feet wide. Dickerson said that he wasn’t home when it happened and had not seen the tractor on his property.
Dickerson tried to get in touch with the responsible party several weeks since then, but had been passed around from person to person without anyone admitting fault.
Dickerson received a call from Todd Carpenter with Dixie Lawn Services in Kings Mountain, N.C. on Oct. 11 telling him that they had dug a hole to remove the spot from where the spill was and replaced the hole with topsoil. Dickerson said he checked the spot on Oct. 12 and alleges it remains the same from when the problem first started.
Not only that, but he says the problem has become “three times worse” because of the rain from Hurricane Matthew.
“I told them to dig up that spill, lay it down with fresh dirt … and for them to never come back,” Dickerson said.
Dickerson has not filed a police report or insurance claim on the incident, but has gone directly to friends and Franklinton government officials such as Franklinton Town Manager Tammy Ray.
“We’ve had dealings in the past to where he [Dickerson] feels comfortable about discussing his problems,” Ray said.
Ray said she had similar issues with DOT’s third party contractors as well, saying they had damaged her son’s truck by throwing a log at the side.
Ray recommended that Dickerson remain in touch with Franklin County Maintenance Contractor Cameron Murphy and DOT Franklin County Engineer Johnathan Tyndall to narrow down a solution.
Tyndall said that with the incident occurring on private property and conducted by a private entity, the DOT itself bears no responsibility for the damage.
“If your neighbor hired someone to work on your property and they caused some damage, it would not be the fault of the neighbor but the person he hired,” Tyndall said.
Tyndall recommended that the best thing for Dickerson to do is to pursue litigation against Dixie Lawn Service.
Dickerson said he consulted Louisburg attorney Steven McFarlane regarding cost of cleanup as well as taking legal action. McFarlane advised that Dickerson should consult the Department of Resources. Dickerson, however, has declined to pursue legal action.
“We cannot forget who the victim is,” Dickerson said. “I don’t think I should carry further expense for the spill.”
Dixie Lawn Service has not responded to requests for comment from The Franklin Weekly.