New York has Spiderman, Gotham has Batman, and now Saint John, NB has its own face of vigilante justice. Meet Mike Defazio, 60-year old auto body shop owner, one-man road repair crew, and local hero.
Defazio’s origin story is simple — driving home from work on Saint John’s Broadway Avenue, his vehicle met a foot-deep pothole, one of many on the street, and blew out a tire. The next day, he was appalled to see a hearse attempt to navigate the same cavities.
Enough was enough. Defazio returned the next morning with his Kubota tractor and a load of gravel. He spent three-and-a-half hours filling in the potholes, some of which he said were one-foot deep and two-feet long.
Unfortunately for Defazio, Gotham was not happy with his good deed.
The caped pothole-filler received a call from Kevin Rice, the city’s deputy commissioner of transportation and environment services. Rice informed Defazio that he had received several complaints regarding the gravel on the road, which posed an insurance issue as rocks were now hurtling into windshields. The city was planning to send a crew out to undo his work, and send him the bill. Defazio offered to hire a private contractor for the job instead, which ended up costing him $450.
Rice defended the city’s course of action by explaining that Defazio was breaking city bylaws when he took the fate of Broadway Avenue into his own hands. He also explained that the street was “low-priority,” meaning the city gave itself up to 30 days to fix potholes after a complaint was made — though in this case, apparently nobody actually complained to the city regarding the potholes.
Defazio may have not taken the prescribed avenue, but he received an outcry of support on social media.
— Joannah Bailey (@JoannahBailey) May 11, 2014
— Lisa Watson (@lwatson_ca) May 10, 2014
The city was reportedly set to send out a crew to fix the road this week, and not a moment too soon for Potholeman, who said that if they didn’t, he’d do the job again. Only this time, he said, “I’ll use better gravel.”
– Drew McLachlan
Meanwhile, in St. John’s, New foundland . . .