El Paso, Texas. 29th December, 2011.

Customers in a Lower Valley neighborhood have running water again after broken pipe shut off service this morning. That water main break created a giant sink hole, that was big enough to swallow part of a police car.

Neighbors near the intersection of Rusk and Pecos woke up to quite the mess this morning. El Paso Water Utility crews spent the morning pouring dirt into the large sink hole that opened up during this morning’s water main break. They had to shut off water to about 40 neighbors to fix it.

“That’s really been hard,” said April Gerome, who lives nearby. “There’s been a lot of racket out here where they’ve been pumping water because the mud was up to the curb. You couldn’t get in or out. It’s really been something!”

Gerome woke up around 2:15 this morning to a strange sound coming from her front yard.
“I heard what sounded like water rushing,” she said. She opened her front door and couldn’t believe what she was seeing.

“To my shock there was just a river of water running though the front yard,” she said.

She went back inside and picked up the phone.

“I called the utility company and for the life of me I couldn’t get through. I tried several times but it was a continuous busy signal so I called 911.”

NewsChannel 9 asked El Paso Water Utilities spokeswoman Christina Montoya why the customer service line was busy and Gerome couldn’t get through. Montoya says the line was probably busy because several people were calling it at the same time to report the gusher. Moments later, Gerome says she saw a police car drive down the street and plunge into the sinkhole.

“He went that way and went straight into it. I mean straight into it!”

The front end of the police car disappeared into the water. Gerome couldn’t believe her eyes!

“I was just shocked!”

The police officer wasn’t hurt and climbed out of the car to safety.

“I’m just glad the officer was ok because I’ll never forget that ever!”

A spokesperson for El Paso Water Utilities says the cause of the water main break is still under investigation. It could have been caused by anything from aging pipes or just too much water pressure.

No homes were damaged.

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