A massive sinkhole that has completely split a road a two-lane road in San Joaquin, California, has now swallowed three separate vehicles despite the hole being clearly marked, authorities say.
The sinkhole broke out earlier this month when the California Highway Patrol said that a compromised retention pond caused the road to erode. Video from Jan. 17 shows water seeping through the roadway and clearing out the material from underneath the pavement.
But just hours after the highway patrol posted about the unsafe conditions and placed “road closed” and “flooded” signs nearby, a car drove right through the flooded area on Kasson Road. Photos of the initial incident show the car lopsided as it started to fall through the road.
The next day, the road totally collapsed, officials said on Facebook, saying that people should not attempt to drive around placed barricades and warning that the site will see a “long term closure.”
Despite the continuous warnings of the closure and the massive hole in the roadway that is about a car length wide, a second vehicle ended up in the collapsed roadway about a week later.
“THIS CAN’T BE REAL!” California Highway Patrol wrote on Facebook with photos of the incident. “We’re at a loss for words. If only there were signs and/or barriers that could have prevented this.”
And even the law enforcement agency was seemingly surprised when on Saturday, “it happened again,” despite the concrete barriers that had been put up since the initial collapse.
This time, a four-door pickup truck ended up in the hole with its front end entirely crushed and its airbags deployed. Police said that the driver of this vehicle was issued a citation for the incident.
“We can’t make this stuff up,” the highway patrol said. “This was 100 percent preventable. There is no excuse. The signs are clear, visible, and unobstructed.”
Netomie Cardoza, who lives in the San Joaquin River Club next to the sinkhole site, said that they heard “this big crunch sound” when the incident occurred.
“We look out the window and, ‘uh oh,’ it’s another,” Cardoza told CBS Sacramento. “I don’t know. It’s ridiculous because it’s a big giant barrier, and they were going around it.”
The sinkhole is expected to be fixed in a matter of weeks, according to CBS Sacramento.