Shaler woman escapes from car in sinkhole along McKnight Road
Natalie Huddleston backed her car away from the Hollywood Tans store on McKnight Road on Tuesday afternoon, heard a “thunk” and soon felt her car sink backward, the front sticking out of a hole opening in the parking lot.
“It was disappearing into this hole,” said Huddleston of Shaler. She called the store, and someone helped her climb out the car window to safety, but her 2002 Saturn was gone in five minutes, she said. She had just finished a tanning appointment about 4:30 p.m. at the business in the 7500 block of McKnight Road in Ross.
“We sat and watched my car sink deeper and deeper,” said Huddleston, who works at Allegheny Valley School.
Huddleston's car was swallowed in a sinkhole caused by the apparent collapse of an active but older and deteriorating storm drain, Ross police Detective Brian Kohlhepp said. He said the line was 48 inches or 60 inches in diameter.
Authorities temporarily closed the road southbound between Browns Lane and Ross Park Mall Drive, but two of the three lanes reopened by early evening. Northbound lanes remained open.
The Midas store and BJ Nail and Spa were evacuated, and the utilities to all three businesses were shut off as a precaution.
Another vehicle near the sinkhole was towed out of danger, and crews pumped the water out and removed Huddleston's car.
The area contains an underground stream, and developers built pipes to contain the water, Ross police said.
Kohlhepp said he had never seen a sinkhole caused by a deteriorating stormwater pipe.
“It's fortunate that this wasn't under McKnight Road,” Ross Commissioner Jeremy Shaffer said. “That would have been a disaster for the business district.”
Shaffer said the stream is called McKnight Run and that it flows into Girty's Run.
Kohlhepp said township officials had been in discussions with property owners about the deteriorating pipes.
“It's a private property issue, not government maintained,” Kohlhepp said.
Kelsey Shea is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Staff writer Michael Hasch contributed to this report.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh rallies for second year of Pirates magic
- Steelers film session: Harrison on the field often
- Tomlin: Penalties only one factor in Steelers’ loss
- Penn State notebook: Players get light workload during bye week
- Pitt joins national team looking to unravel traumatic brain injuries
- Police: Charges unwarranted for Yough shop class project
- Corbett to sign bill to help lower fatal overdoses
- Steelers are vowing to fix the costly penalties, lack of self-discipline
- Prosecutors float possibility of jail time for former Justice Melvin
- Mental health facility won’t take Franklin Regional stabbing suspect as patient
- Women sues over injuries she blames on Pittsburgh EMS