WHAM13 - Search Results
Driver: I feel both lucky and stupid
Avon, N.Y. - One minute he was driving home on Hogmire Road in Avon. The next his car was swallowed up where the washed out road once stood. "I feel really lucky," said Mike France about the fact that he did not suffer serious injuries.
He also added "I just feel really stupid."
France admits he drove around a barricade while on his way home from work 6:30 Monday evening. The roads were dry; he had been in Buffalo all day and was not aware that a section of Hogmire Road in Avon had been under six feet of water all day.
"It was just so fast," he said snapping his fingers. "The next thing I know I'm looking at my air bags (deployed) and saying 'Oh my God."
For a moment, France says he was unsure of just where he was. Then he looked up. "The road was above the roof of the car! So I'm looking at the piping and the sewage and that stuff that normally runs under the road," he said.
France showed 13 Wham News photos of his car after it had been hauled out of the sink hole and towed away. He says he has no idea how he survived. "The hood is crunched all the way up to the windshield, the windshield is completely smashed," he said.
Yet he was able to wedge the door open partway and climb onto a drainage pipe then hoist himself to safety. Torrential rains Monday had washed away a section of the road just the size to swallow up his Honda Civic. "I saw what best could be described as a dark area," France said. "I hit my brakes but the road was still wet and the next thing I know I was right in."
France admits he drove around a barricade after observing on-coming traffic using the road. "There were a couple of barricades that were wide enough to go through. A vehicle came off that section of the road before I went up there, so I assumed the road had been washed out earlier and was fine now."
While 13 Wham News was on Hogmire Road Tuesday another driver told us she nearly made the same mistake thinking the danger was over. She said the barricades had been opened and that she traveled down the road but was able to stop before hitting the water.
France will not be ticketed because the barricade was not posted with a "road closed" sign facing the direction where he would have seen it. However he tells 13 Wham News he is "really embarrassed" by a decision he now calls "stupid."
He also realizes it might have been deadly. "I could not be talking to you today. That could have been the outcome," he said.