Nine Cass County roads remain closed

This is the kind of thing that Christopher Columbus worried about.

A Cass County, Michigan man fell off the face of the earth—or so it seemed.

55-year old David Hutchings of Cassopolis was driving his pickup truck to work about 5 a.m. Monday morning on White Street in Howard Township when he discovered that a large section of pavement had been washed away by the heavy rains.

“He drove right into a hole,” said Sgt. Philip Esarey. “There was a creek that runs through that part and has a drainage tube underneath the road, and the road had completely eroded out enough to fit the F-150 completely inside of it.”

“It was in the dark,” said Rick Janssen of the Cass County Road Commission, “and a truck come along and I’m sure he probably couldn’t see where this had washed out because it’s a black top road, and he dropped right into where the road had collapsed and went away.”

The impact of the crash was forceful enough to deploy the airbag in Hutching’s truck. Police say Hutchings got out of the vehicle on his own power and walked home to phone for help.

It took two tow trucks to remove the vehicle from the sink hole. The roof of the truck cab was said to be level with the pavement.

White Street is now listed as one of nine that has been closed by the Cass County Road Commission. 18-additional roads are flooded and have been flagged with warning signs, but have not been shut down.

The situation forced a half dozen Cass County school district to cancel classes today.
“The inclement weather has always been like lightening, but we would go home early, or stay where we were at, and snow, but never rain” said Cassopolis School Superintendent Gregory Weatherspoon. “I can’t ever in life recall calling school off for rain.”

While a few ceiling tiles fell and a puddle or two littered the floor at Sam Adams Elementary School in Cassopolis, the cancellation was all about the morning bus trip.

“They are very concerned about the condition of roads and they hadn’t seen this type of water in over thirty years,” said Superintendent Weatherspoon. “So they started describing water over roads, water washing out a road, dirt roads are in bad shape, trees are down, and puddles people thin k were shallow were very deep in fact.”

“It’s too close of a call for safety to have our kids out there,” the superintendent said.

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