AUTAUGAVILLE, AL (WSFA) - What a scare and what a mess! The driver of a Coca-Cola van unknowingly drove into a sinkhole early Friday morning on Strickland Landing Road in Autaugaville. Thankfully, he was not injured.
"He was wearing his seat belt for an event like that. That's a pretty good drop," said Autauga County EMA Director Ernie Baggett.
How big of a drop? Twelve feet deep and 30 feet across! Big enough to swallow the van.
And all Brandon Stodghill could do was watch and have patience. "A very big inconvenience," he explained.
Brandon was among the more than a dozen residents stranded on the other side of the sinkhole.
"I can't go anywhere at the moment. Looks like I'll have to sit here and wait it out," he said. "Hopefully, they'll get it patched up pretty quick and get on through here."
The road leads to the Alabama River, and there is only one way in and one way out. That's why county road crews worked in the elements on a temporary fix so local traffic could resume. A more permanent repair job will be done next week when the weather dries out.
Autauga County reportedly received more than five inches of rain Thursday night. Officials say it will take 10 dump trucks filled with dirt and rocks to fill up the hole.
"We're working in the rain, but we got people trapped in here and we're trying to get them back in here," said Autauga County Engineer John Mark Davis.
The storm Thursday night caused five trouble spots in the county. The sinkhole was by far the worst. Even with the strong timber walls in place on Sweet Creek, the volume of water was too much, too soon.
Autauga County officials say that part of Strickland Landing is open but mainly for local residents in that area until a more complete repair can be done next week.