Spring Lake man has close call with sinkhole

Car drives into sinkhole

SPRING LAKE TOWNSHIP, MICH. - A Spring Lake make says he is lucky to be alive, after his car got caught in a sinkhole Wednesday, March 1. It happened on 148th Avenue in Spring Lake just north of M-104.

Ottawa County Sheriff Sgt. Brian Buter said the sinkhole was discovered around 6 a.m., that's when Doug Baughan was on his way to work.

"I called 911 and told them that the road was sinking," Baughan said. The Spring Lake man waited for police to come. He parked his car by the hole with his lights on, so no one would drive into it. Seconds later, the hole grew.

"When I backed up, it finally gave way and my Jeep laid right on its frame and gas tank," Baughan said. "I was afraid to get out the Jeep because I knew it was crumbling underneath me and I didn't want to jump out of the Jeep to find out there was nothing there."

When police arrived, they noticed part of the road was bowed. After ordering Baughan of the car and towing it, the sinkhole developed.

"If everyone responded five minutes later or something I could have been in the process of getting out of my vehicle when it finally collapsed or still in my vehicle when it finally collapsed. My guardian angels were definitely looking over me this morning," he said with a laugh. "I'm thankful for that."

Authorities say the sinkhole make take a while to fix.

“They have to put it out for bids, and that bid might not be accepted until Monday,” Sgt. Buter said. “Then they have to fix it after that, so they’re talking a week.”

The sinkhole is said to be 15 feet by 20 feet in size and 10 feet deep.

Road Commission officials on scene Wednesday evening say the sinkhole was caused by a failed pipe beneath the road.

The bike path is also closed and the entire road is considered in danger of caving in. If you're driving in the area, you're advised to take 144th Avenue instead.

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Kayla Fortney is a digital producer at WZZM 13. Have a news tip? Email news@wzzm13.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.

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