Photo from Jon Mills - Hancock Road near Montague
MONTAGUE, Mich. (WZZM) - Two men narrowly escaped from their car alive, after it plunged 20 feet and sank Wednesday morning.
Driver Kyle Cloutier and passenger Nikoli Wallace were riding in a Chrysler 300 around 3:30 a.m. when Hancock Road washed out beneath them, between Chase Road and Indian Bay Road.
Heavy rainfall and snow melt caused flash flooding in the Flower Creek and the rushing water carved a massive pit in the roadway. It was foggy at the time and Cloutier said he had no time to react before the car fell into the hole.
"The water is coming in, coming in and I am trying to figure out what is going on... did I drive off the road?"
Cloutier says the next thing he remembers was being upside-down and about to drown inside his mother's car. The men managed to remove their seat belts but had a hard time opening a door as the car filled with water.
"I took one last breath and went under and he (Wallace) was pushing on the door," says Cloutier.
Together the men escaped the vehicle, but the rushing water pushed them downstream. Eventually they both climbed onto the exposed culvert.
It was then Cloutier realized just how cold he was. "Freezing-- I have never been that cold in my life."
Once out of the water, Wallace searched for his the phone he had in his soaked pants pocket.
"He luckily had an iPhone on him with a waterproof case. We called 911, but there wasn't any service," recalls Cloutier.
Eventually their call was connected to an emergency dispatcher. With life vests on, the two friends climbed a long latter that stretched from the culvert back to the road.
Wallace broke two front teeth in the crash, but aside from that, the two men are fine.
The Muskegon County Road Commission will need several months to fix the culvert reopen Hancock Road. It will cause a short detour for those who live west of the wash out.