July 18th, 2007

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Traffic Accident?

There must have been a terrible traffic accident on the main street near my house. When I left for my run this morning, the road was blocked by orange and white barrels and I could see some city vehicles and a fire engine on the main road. I shrugged it off as perhaps emergency utility work due to last night's thunderstorms and turned left and went on my run.

When I got back closer to the house, I had to come nearer the commotion. They had completely shut down one side of Wendover. The fire engine was still there, with about four or five police cars, two officers directing traffic, one fire department SUV, almost a dozen city vehicles (cars, vans, trucks, big trucks), a bunch of civilian workers in orange vests walking around, and three news crews. I tried to get a look as I crossed Wendover, but couldn't really tell what was going on. When I got back to the house, I kept on going and jogged down to Wendover to try to get another better look. The only new thing I saw was part of a car -- a wheel, a front and rear bumper, and part of the rear fender. That's when I figured it was probably a traffic accident -- and it must have been pretty bad to have broken a car in that manner.

I turned on the local morning news in case they're reporting something, but so far, they aren't.

Edit: The guy on the news, before breaking for commercial, just gave me a clue to what happened: "We've got a major story in Greensboro. A sinkhole on what may be the busiest street in town, and we've got your coverage coming up."
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Sinkhole!

Holy water excavation, Batman! It wasn't a traffic accident, it was a sinkhole! (Live video.) The guy from the city water department on TV said that a big water line failed overnight, dumping thousands of gallons of water under the road a minute. The parts of the car I saw wasn't separated parts of a car -- the rest of the car was below the road!



That's about 300 yards from my house.
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Pictures of the Sinkhole

I took a few pictures of the sinkhole and my parents captured some stills of the live stream TV footage.

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They've got an updated story, including a video clip with them pulling the car out of the sinkhole. You can see me in the background, on the right side, eventually crossing to the left side of the screen when they start to pull the car out (I'm going back home to get the camera). As the story goes on, they talk about rubberneckers and people from the neighborhood coming to take pictures and the camera zooms in on a handful of folks across the street. As it pans out, I'm the guy talking in black running shorts on the right. Yeah, I'm still on the phone.