Tis the time of year for pot holes CUYAHOGA FALLS - This time of year nearly everybody has a pothole horror story to tell. But for a Cuyahoga Falls family of five, their encounter with a roadside crater was near to over the top when all were taken to hospital emergency rooms for treatment. A week later, Melissa and Micah Thomas and their three young children are still nursing bumps and bruises suffered in a March 6 crash on Yellow Creek Road in the Falls after their family van hit a pothole then careened off the road and into a steep ditch inches away from a creek. Melissa Thomas said a fairly uneventful family outing to the Summit Mall in Fairlawn took a serious turn as they made their way back to their 10th Street home in the Falls. She said they had just crested a hill on Yellow Creek Road near Bath Road when the 1996 Pontiac Transport she was driving hit two potholes and careened off the roadway. ``No matter what I did to that steering wheel,'' she said, ``I could not control that van. ``I didn't even see it (the pothole) until I was in.'' Micah Thomas said he was sitting in the passenger seat looking back at their children -- ages 3 to 9 -- when the accident happened. ``I felt the big bump,'' he said. ``The next thing I knew the van was careening right off the road. ``It was so quick. It was like boom, boom.'' The family had to be extricated from the crumpled van that was wedged in the ditch. All were taken to Akron hospitals, where they -- with the exception of Melissa, who was admitted for one night -- were treated for bumps and bruises. Melissa Thomas, 31, said she's encountered plenty of potholes, but never one that caused her to lose control and crash. She was cited by Falls police for failure to control her vehicle. ``I don't think I did anything wrong,'' she said. ``I don't know how to control something that was caused by a pothole.'' Now she's faced with the choice of either paying a $134 fine or attempting to fight the citation in Falls Municipal Court. She said the potential fine -- coupled with the family carrying only liability insurance on their sole means of transportation -- makes the whole mishap all the more aggravating and expensive. Falls Police Chief John Conley said officers investigating the crash estimate the van was traveling 40 miles per hour in a posted 35 mph zone. After reviewing the police incident report that notes the potholes in the road where the accident occurred, Conley said, he still feels the citation was appropriate. ``You are still ultimately responsible for the operation of your vehicle,'' the chief said. Falls Councilman Terry Mader, whose ward includes the area where the accident occurred, said he has not heard any complaints about that stretch of roadway. Mader said motorists may call the city's Pothole Hotline at 330-971-8345 or visit the Falls' Web site at www.cityofcf.com to report any pothole problems. ``I do believe the city is doing the best it can do,'' he said. So far this winter season, the Falls Public Works Department reports that it has filled an estimated 10,000 potholes. Mader said the city is trying to be as proactive as it can to keep the roadways smooth. ``I think every city is contending with the same thing,'' he said. ``Due to the wonderful winter weather we've had, it's been particularly bad.'' Even though she was "speeding" should she have received a ticket for failure to control? I have encountered pot holes that could swallow my Geo. None that would cause me to loose control, but I am a slower driver with the kids in my car. I am glad I still carry full coverage on my car even though it is 7 years old. It is only 10 bucks a month more each month, but I have the comfort of knowing if I hit a pot hole, deer or if my car is vandalized, I am covered.