Good Samaritans save couple from swallowing sinkhole

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A few miles northwest of Lake Placid Road in Smith County, a community rescue effort was underway after storms flooded East Texas.

Around 7:45 Thursday morning, Tommy Moore and Jaci Wilkerson were driving on Dean Road where it meets up with County Road 1130.  Suddenly, the road disappeared underneath them.

The beast of a sinkhole is now impassable--stretching across the roadway, nearly 20 feet deep. But, it started small opening up underneath the couple's car.

"I see their back tire spinning and smoke, and all of a sudden, I see their brakes throw on," said Janiece Tucker.

Tucker saw the whole thing happen in front of her. She was the first to stop and help.

"He thought somebody had hit him from behind, and I said, 'No, it's a sink hole,'" said Tucker.

Photos taken by Tucker show the bumper of the couple's car hanging from the edge of the, then, much smaller, sinkhole.

"If it would have been this big when they came through this morning, then we might be looking at a different situation," said Roxie Ross, an off-duty paramedic.

Ross" drove up on the accident just a few minutes later. A paramedic by trade, she instinctively got out to help.

"We just held her c-spine, kept her calm [and] controlled a little bleeding on her neck," said Ross. "[It was] all we could with what we had."

"She was an angel in disguise, let me tell you," said Janiece Tucker.

The force from the impact caused the airbags to deploy, shattering the windows. The female passenger was injured and bleeding from the neck. The driver was able to called 9-1-1.

"I could hear the sirens, and I was telling the people it's going to be okay, but then the sirens quit," said Janiece Tucker.

Apparently, high water and blocked roads kept rescue workers at bay.

"We were basically landlocked by water," said Phyllis Hodge-Floyd, a nurse, who just happens to live down the road from the sinkhole.

"When that first knock came on the door this morning, we were going, like, 'What is this?'" said Hodge-Floyd.

Inside her house, the other good Samaritans found a warm, dry place to bring the victims. The couple's sinkhole-battered car still sits in her driveway.

"We gave them something to drink and we gave them towels," said Hodge-Floyd. "We did what we were supposed to do."

"Has to be East Texas...Godly people," said Ross.

It would be a young man and his four-wheeler who would later deliver rescue workers to the house.

"The boy let one of the paramedics sit on the front, and another sat on the back," said Janiece Tucker.

Nearly three hours, the good Samaritans delivered the couple to a waiting ambulance.

"I hope everything turns out good," said Ross.

"I'm hoping that everything will be okay," said Phyllis Hodge-Floyd.

"It's a blessing everyone is safe," said Janiece Tucker.

All thanks to a dedicated group of sinkhole saviors.

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