Getting stuck a lot less serious than being swallowed by a sink hole

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Steve Huffman
EAST SPENCER ó A call for help that came out across the police scanner Monday night turned out to be not as serious as it sounded.
The call from Rowan 911 Communications said a car was involved in a traffic accident and was sinking into a sinkhole at the intersection of Shaver and East Jackson streets in East Spencer.
The situation was nowhere near as dire as the description made it seem, said Mark Smith, an officer with the East Spencer Police Department.
He said there was no traffic accident and no sinkhole.
“It wasn’t,” Smith said of the appearance of a car-swallowing sinkhole.
“He just got stuck.”
Smith said much of the intersection was dug up Monday by utility workers as part of the effort to replace East Spencer’s failing water lines, a long-time problem in town.
Utility workers covered the newly-installed pipes with dirt and gravel Monday, but new asphalt has not been poured. Rain later softened the work area. A motorist got stuck in mud at the site, Smith said, his car apparently sliding to the side of the road.
Everyone climbed out of the car with minimal problems, Smith said.
“There were no injuries,” he said.
But Smith said someone apparently called the incident in as a traffic accident involving a sinkhole. Which resulted in a fair amount of attention.
A number of rescue workers responded.
Shaver Street at the intersection was blocked with a backhoe overnight. “Road closed” signs warned drivers motoring through the area.
About 11 p.m. Monday, Jeff Russell and other East Spencer firefighters were at the site, waiting for workers from Rowan-Salisbury Utilities to return with flashing lights to mark the site.
“We don’t want someone hitting the backhoe at 40 miles per hour,” said Russell, East Spencer’s interim deputy fire chief. “That might really cause a problem.”
The intersection of Shaver and East Jackson Street is about a block east of Long Street.