Andrew Dys

He discovered washed out Chester County road when he drove into the hole

Charles Sims knows where a rural Chester County road washed out in recent heavy rains -- because Sunday night he drove into the hole.

Sims was the person who alerted Chester officials of the section of road that remains closed due to a sinkhole. His car was in in it.

Sims, 47, was driving on rural Connor Road Sunday night near his home when his 2000 Ford Ranger truck went nose-first into the spot where the road washed away. Sims said his injuries are minor but he was stunned. The washed out part of the road, where water runs under it, is several feet deep and several feet wide.

“I was heading to town to get a hamburger and I went right down into it,” Sims said. “It was dark. It was raining. I crawled out of the hole ... I went from driving for something to eat to being in a hole.”

He called 911 and emergency officials responded quickly. Sims’ truck was pulled out by a wrecker. But the truck is ruined, said Sims, who needs the vehicle to get to work at a grading business. The truck has a smashed windshield, other broken parts and a flat tire.

“I just want to get treated right,” Sims said. “That truck is all I got.”

Ed Darby, deputy director of Chester County Emergency Management, confirmed that the 911 call for the truck in the hole sent emergency crews to help Sims, and close the rural road west of Lowrys in northwestern Chester County. The road remains closed as county officials wait on quotes from contractors to repair it after rains subside later this week, said Chester County Supervisor Shane Stuart.

Stuart said Wednesday he called Sims to let him know the county had contacted its insurance carrier through the S.C. Association of Counties and the incident is being reviewed.

“We have submitted all the information,” Stuart said.

Sims said, while he didn’t want to lose his truck or end up in a hole, he is happy that the washed out road was found before school buses went down the road Monday morning.

Until he gets replacement transportation, Sims has to ride his lawnmower to the bus stop.

“I don’t feel like this is my fault at all,” Sims said. “The road caved in on me as I was crossing.”