Sinkhole survivor battered but says things could have turned out worse

A man that firefighters pulled from a large sinkhole in the Augusta Exchange shopping center parking lot Wednesday was battered but in good spirits Thursday.

 

Don Merritt, of Evans, suffered a sprained wrist, and received up to five stitches in his skull following the incident but was “happy to have survived the fall.”

“It could have been a lot worse,” he said from his home Thursday.

Merritt, as well as his motorcycle, fell in the hole located near the former HH Greg store, just opposite of Target where he had intended to return a couple of shirts.

He was trying to drive around the backside of the business when he fell in just before 2 p.m. Wednesday, according to a incident report. Crews placed a ladder into the hole to help Merritt out of the sinkhole.

Merritt said all he could remember was making the turn into the parking lot.

“All I remember is turning into the parking lot and the next thing I know I was waking up in a hospital,” he said.

Augusta Utilities Director Tom Wiedmeier said the hole was near a strom drain on the private parking lot. The owner of the shopping center is currently in discussion with contractors to have the sinkhole repaired, he said Thursday.

Merritt said he is pondering whether to press charges. He hopes the sinkhole is repaired soon.

“If I had seen it I sure would have stopped; it just was where it was as soon as I turned the corner I was in a hole,” he said. “So hopefully they get that one and any others fixed as quickly as possible.”

 

 

 

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