Sinkhole swallows car in downtown St. Louis

A St. Louis police officer looks over a large hole in 6th Street, Thursday, June 29, 2017, in St. Louis, that swallowed a Toyota Camry between Olive and Locust Streets. It isn't immediately clear what caused the collapse. (Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A man who scored what he thought was a prime parking spot in downtown St. Louis said he returned from a Thursday morning trip to the gym with his fiancee to find his car swallowed by a sinkhole.

Jordan Westerberg told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that when the couple came back to his Toyota Camry shortly before 7 a.m. and didn’t see the car, they figured it had been towed.

Street workers were gathered at the parking space, a tipoff that something was amiss. That’s when Westerberg, 25, found the vehicle in the gaping hole — about 20 feet (6 meters) deep and 8 to 10 feet (2.5 to 3 meters) across — that took up the entire southbound lane of the street, next to a vacant building expected to feature apartments, office space and retail.

No injuries were reported.

“It’s pretty crazy,” said Westerberg, who lives in a loft downtown. “We could’ve been in the car. It’s a compact car. It’s not like it’s heavy.”

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the collapse, though an 8-inch, below-ground water main at the site appeared to have been broken for some time, given the amount of erosion.

Vincent Foggie, of the city’s water division, said hole was missing mounds of dirt that normally support the road’s asphalt-topped concrete. He called such voids large enough to swallow a vehicle a rarity in the city.

“We don’t know what happened,” Foggie said. “I have no idea where the dirt went.”

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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