El Paso Times
A man died Friday after his pickup fell into a sinkhole as he drove around barricades blocking a flooded area in the Lower Valley.
It was about 2:30 a.m. Friday when Andres Jurado, 57, apparently ignored warnings from water utility crews and drove his pickup around a barricade into a sinkhole in the 9300 block of Roseway Drive, which was created by a water main break, El Paso Police Department spokesman Javier Sambrano said.
His body was recovered by firefighters about 13 hours after he fell in the sinkhole.
"He was traveling westbound on Roseway and went around the barricade. They were trying to get him to stop, but he went around them and fell into the sinkhole," Sambrano said.
Jurado, of the 100 block of Juno, was unable to get out of his truck, which almost immediately became submerged in water. Firefighters who responded to the emergency estimated that the sinkhole was more than 20 feet deep and at least twice as wide.
The rescue efforts by the El Paso Fire Department's water rescue team were hampered by the deep, muddy water and by a whirlpool created by the pressure from the broken waterline, which also caused the rupture of a smaller waterline and a gas line.
Sambrano said the water pressure also compromised the stability of the street, causing pieces of asphalt to fall into the sinkhole during rescue attempts.
About a dozen people who identified themselves as relatives of Jurado gathered on the muddy street and watched as emergency crews pumped water out of the sinkhole to allow firefighters to search for the body.
Some family members, including Art Beltran, had been watching the rescue work since before sunrise.
Beltran said he and his wife were notified of the accident by a 4 a.m. telephone call.
The rest of Jurado's family members, including some who among themselves questioned the visibility of the barricades at the time of the accident, were too distraught to talk extensively to reporters about the tragedy.
"My only concern is just getting him out," Patricia Jurado said as emergency crews looked for the body.
Sambrano said the water main break was reported about 11:30 p.m. Thursday.
Hector Gonzalez, business manager of the El Paso Water Utilities, said the sinkhole was caused by a ruptured 24-inch waterline. The cause of the rupture was unknown Friday.
Gonzalez said the force of the water main break caused a break in a smaller waterline and a gas line. The water main break affected about 25 homes, he said.
The rupture of the 2-inch gas line caused three homes to be temporarily evacuated, said Gerardo Sanchez, a safety manager for Texas Gas Service.
The American Red Cross of El Paso assisted families from the water main break on Roseway.
Mark Matthys, executive director of the American Red Cross El Paso Area Chapter, said 11 families were evacuated when the first water main break was reported late Thursday.
"Most of them found places to stay last night. We have a couple that we've been in contact with (Friday) afternoon that needed additional lodging," Matthys said.
Ok, let me get this straight, this guy drove AROUND the barricades, PAST the work crews trying to signal him to stop and his family is questioning the visibility of the barricades at the time of the accident? What the fuck is wrong with those people?
This is particularly aggravating to me because I work on streets semi-frequently and we are constantly having to account for inattentive, rude, aggressive and just flat out stooooopid people who quite frankly deserve to have bad things happen to them because of their actions. If you see big bright dayglo orange barricades and cones, and people are waving at you to stop, here's a hint....
If you go AROUND the barricades then, I'm sorry, but it serves you right if you fall into a 15 foot deep sinkhole and drown.
That's what the barricades were attempting to barricade before you cleverly went AROUND them.
Seriously, if these people even think about filing a wrongful death suit on his behalf then I will have found a new "lowest form of human life" to mock and deride.... well ok, they won't be worse that some politicians, but they'll be pretty damn low.