STUDIO CITY—Crews are working to repair a massive sinkhole that swallowed two cars and briefly trapped a 48-year-old woman inside of her vehicle on Friday, February 17.
Firefighters from the Los Angeles Fire Department arrived on scene at Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Studio City Friday night and found one car upside-down in a large dark sinkhole full of rushing water. The single occupant was standing on the upside down car, approximately 10 feet below street level.
The sinkhole is about 20 feet deep and 30 feet wide. The hole will not get any bigger, according to officials. Firefighters lowered a 20-foot extension ladder down to the woman to rescue her. A second driver managed to escape before his vehicle fell into the 20-foot deep sinkhole.
Firefighters transported her to a local hospital in fair condition. While [she] was being transported, the patient informed firefighters that when she was driving, she felt the car pitch to the left, before falling into the sinkhole. Water started coming in the car. The victim attempted to raise the windows which would not work. She was able to open the door and climb on top of the car and started screaming for help.
“She said, she thought she was going to die. Then she heard the firefighters yell back to her.) The driver of the second vehicle self extricated and was uninjured. The pavement continued to give way and the second vehicle fell in the sinkhole,” indicated LAFD spokesman Erik Scott.
Both drivers have been identified as Stephanie Scott and Isiah Williams.
City engineers believe the sinkhole formed during the heavy rains Friday night and was likely caused by the excessive rains and sewer failure. TMZ reported that actors Bobb’e J. Thompson and Zachary Williams from “30 Rock” and “Lincoln Heights” were inside 1 of the 2 vehicles that was swallowed by the sinkhole. Both gentlemen assisted in helping the woman who was trapped after her car fell into the sinkhole.
On Monday, February 20, Laurel Canyon Boulevard re-opened one lane in each direction while working on a bypass pipe. The area closed Monday at 8 p.m. for crews to continue sinkhole repairs.
It is expected to re-open Tuesday at 6 a.m., but the project is expected to take 2 to 3 weeks to complete before all lanes can be re-opened to motorists.
Written By Darylese Shook and Casey Jacobs