Driver steers car into 8-foot-deep hole


Registered User
Nov 23, 2005
A left-hand turn and a moment’s distraction landed Charles Farrell in a pretty big hole Wednesday morning.

The 61-year-old Fort Wayne man was headed to lunch just before noon and turned south from Washington Boulevard onto Calhoun Street.

The trouble was Calhoun Street is closed because of a yawning 8-foot-deep hole in front of the Hilton hotel. Thinking the road had reopened, but wondering why he was looking at a police car parked just a few yards away with its lights flashing, Farrell accidentally drove his silver Chevrolet Lumina into the hole.

For more than 30 minutes, the car sat there, rear-end up, and Farrell stood by while hotel patrons, downtown workers, passers-by and construction crew members snapped cell phone photos and debated the chances the car was still drivable. The open levels of nearby parking garages became sort of stadium seating, offering bird’s-eye views of the wreckage in the street below.

In order to hoist the car from its subterranean resting place, a tow truck driver and a construction company employee rigged a chain to the bucket shovel on an excavator. With the steel links stretching, the car was balanced on its front bumper. But moments later, the chain slipped from the car’s body and the car fell forward in the hole, its roof and windshield striking the concrete with a sickening crunch.

A second attempt proved successful, as a thicker chain was draped through the car’s rear axle, and the construction worker, with some skillful maneuvering of the bucket, was able to pull the car out of the hole and set it gingerly on the pavement.

All the while, Farrell stood impassively on the curb, watching anonymously while those standing around laughed and continued taking their photos.

Farrell said he was wearing his seat belt and wasn’t driving fast. He didn’t suffer any serious injuries but had a small cut that bloodied his left hand. He was able to climb out of the hole with help.

Initially, emergency crews were concerned because the car had come to rest on a high-voltage electrical line running under the street, but officials from American Electric Power told local officials the line, encased in concrete, was not harmed and posed no danger.

Farrell said there was no barricade at the Washington Boulevard intersection and, having heard the street was open last week, he thought maybe it was still passable.

How he ended up on Calhoun Street is now the concern of Brooks Construction, which was taking statements from witnesses who saw Farrell turn onto the street, said Randy Raypole, the company’s safety director.

The company set up barrels at the end of the street, but they were placed far enough apart to allow construction trucks and equipment to get to the work site. Brooks is excavating for drainage, Raypole said.

A few people applauded as the car came to rest on the street, and some seemed surprise as the tow truck driver successfully started the engine and backed it up toward his rig.

With that, the cell phones were put away and people went back to their day.

The midday show on Calhoun Street had come to an end.

Charles Farrell drove his car into a 8-foot-deep hole in front of the Hilton hotel on Calhoun Street on Wednesday. Farrell was not seriously injured.


permanent case of the Moooondays
Apr 27, 2005
This is why I am always looking for brake lights when I'm behind a Chevy Lumina. More often than not, there's an old person behind the wheel in that, a Towncar or a Crown Victoria.