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“Everything broke loose:” Excelsior man ends up at bottom of sinkhole

June 6, 2018 – When Lance Shoemaker’s cell phone rang on his way back from the grocery store, he pulled over, figuring it was his fiancé needing him to pick up just one more item. But he didn’t even have the chance to answer before, as he described it, “everything broke loose.” Shoemaker was the driver of the truck seemingly swallowed by a sinkhole on W. Jesse James in the area of Ashley’s Car Lot on Tuesday, June 5.

“I really didn’t know what happened at first,” Shoemaker, an Excelsior Springs resident, said. As his truck slammed to the bottom of the hole that opened beneath it, two men, from O’Reilly’s and AutoZone, both came running to help. The two of them formed a human chain and helped pull Shoemaker out.

Once his heartrate slowed and his adrenaline quit pumping, Shoemaker’s back went out, and he was transported by ambulance to Liberty Hospital. They checked him over, and luckily, he wasn’t seriously injured.

“I’m a little roughed up but fine otherwise,” Shoemaker said.

Shoemaker said he was glad it happened to him, rather than someone who may not have been buckled into their vehicle, or even a pedestrian.

“It was kind of a blessing in disguise that it happened to me, because if it was a kid or an adult walking across there, with enough vibration from nearby traffic that  hole could have opened, and they could have been killed,” Shoemaker said, adding that a large chunk of concrete smashed into the hood of his truck and bounced off.

“I don’t know the status of my truck, whether they total it or not, but Rite-Way did an excellent job of pulling it out,” Shoemaker said.

Both Excelsior Springs Police Department and the Excelsior Springs Fire Department reported to the sinkhole.

“We found a full-size pickup inside the hole with the driver self-extricated prior to our arrival,” said ESFD Assistant Chief Camron White, Communications Division. “One patient was transported to the hospital with non-life threating injuries.”

Shoemaker thanked the first responders, saying that both ESFD and ESPD were responsive and helpful.

In addition, Missouri Department of Transportation responded to the scene to assess the roadway. It is suspected that the sinkhole was caused by a collapsed storm drain. A second depression in the ground was observed nearby.

“It was not a fun ride,” Shoemaker said. “I’ve got nine lives, but I’ve used about 30 of them.”

Image via Excelsior Springs Police Department

By Samantha Kilgore • samantha@leaderpress.com

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