A South Dakota Department of Transportation engineer admits South Dakota Highway 11 held back water and flooded homeowners in the small town of Shindler in July 2010.
The testimony from South Dakota DOT Bridge Design Manager Kevin Goeden came on Tuesday - the first day of a four-day trial in a lawsuit that has been brought against the state by the Shindler residents who were flooded on July 30, 2010.
Five homes in the small town south of Sioux Falls were flooded after several inches of rain fell overnight. Those five families are now asking the state to pay for the damages caused by the flooding that destroyed the homes.
“The water was lapping at the top edge of the basement,” homeowner Tim Doyle said while he was testifying on Tuesday.
Mark Long is one of the homeowners who is suing the state. His family had to be rescued from their home during the flooding. A KELOLAND News video of the rescue was played in court Tuesday morning. Long was also outspoken about the drainage problems in the area following the flooding.
The group of homeowners argue the state failed to put in the proper culverts to get the water to drain under the highway, essentially making Highway 11 a dam that held back the floodwater.
“I just didn’t understand why it was completely dry on the east and devastated on the west,” Doyle said.
During testimony Tuesday morning, Goeden was questioned about the flooding that day and he admitted Highway 11 obstructed the water.
“The water on the west side of Highway 11 caused flooding to the property,” Goeden said.
Attorneys for the State of South Dakota will cross-examine Goeden about the flooding Tuesday afternoon. The city of Sioux Falls has already settled its portion of the lawsuit out of court with the homeowners.