Joyce Maguire realizes that hundreds of people sacrificed tires at the edge of the great pothole altar last week, but she can do them one better.
One tire better, in fact.
On Jan. 24, Ms. Maguire was driving across Hawkins Point Road at 6 p.m. to Fort Smallwood Road and her home in Stoney Beach. With the temperature at 52 degrees, the thaw had started, and the newly uncovered blacktop road surface blended into the dusk.
As she bounced along the bumpy road, Ms. Maguire felt a powerful jolt.
"It was like someone hit me, I popped out of my seat and came back down."
Like many a driver preceding her, Ms. Maguire had driven over a pothole in the road's right-hand eastbound lane.
"It took up probably half the lane and was very deep. I thought I lost the whole car. The tow-truck driver walked back to it and said it had very sharp edges."
Ms. Maguire pulled her Burgundy Toyota Carolla over behind three other disabled cars, all of which had flat tires.
"Another hit [the pothole] and pulled over right behind me," she said.
Then she got out and saw the bad news -- two flat tires.
"I can't change a tire to save my life," she said. "But I was the only one who had two flat tires, meaning I needed a tow."
She also lost her right rear hubcap. "I never found that -- I found a whole lot of other ones, but never found mine."
Ms. Maguire waited about a half-hour after calling towing companies and her family. A state trooper pulled behind her and put on his hazard lights.
"Once he got there, no one drove over it, they all got over into the left lane. As soon as he left, three in a row hit it," she added.
She said the trooper helped her find a towing company, which picked up her car 45 minutes later.
Her car was towed to Atlantic Tire, on Pulaski Highway in Baltimore. Her two right tires and her right rear rim had to be replaced, at a cost of $142.09.
Ms. Maguire has been traveling Hawkins Point Road every working day since taking a job at Signet Mortgage Co. in Baltimore, but has not used it since her encounter with the pothole.
"I won't travel that road again," she said.
Vanessa Pyatt of the city's Public Works department said 20,000 cars travel Hawkins Point Road every day.