WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – After days of around the clock work, crews finished repairs on Carolina Beach Road Monday afternoon.
No one can control where lightning strikes, and in this case, a lightning bolt struck a metal water pipe, causing a water main break on one of the city’s busiest roads early Saturday morning.
Around 12:30 a.m., a 40 foot deep sinkhole opened, flooding the road and trapping two people in a car driving near Ivy Circle.
A CFPUA spokesperson says lightning striking metal water pipes is something that does occasionally happen. Crews who pulled the pipe from the ground could clearly see evidence of the lightning strike on the metal pipe itself.
“It’s an extremely busy thoroughfare and not an ideal spot– not that you ever want a water main to break –but this is not the best spot to have to conduct an emergency repair,” said CFPUA spokesperson Cammie Bellamy.
Police were called to stabilize the scene early Saturday morning and direct traffic and set up barricades so crews could work.
Officers with WPD were called out again early the next morning after a driver collided with the wood barricades, smashing them to pieces, and drove off.
Monday night, the split barricades and pieces of the car’s front grill were still piled on the sidewalk on Carolina Beach Road.
While everyone at the scene was grateful no officers or CFPUA workers were hit, the collision is a potent reminder about the danger of drivers not paying attention behind the wheel.
Wilmington police say this isn’t the first time something like this has happened recently.
“We’ve had patrol cars with flashing blue lights to get hit, we’ve had officers with reflective vests that have actually been hit, so this is not uncommon and it comes from distracted drivers. A lot of people are looking to see what happened and you have to pay attention to where you’re going,” said Lt. Leslie Irving of the WPD. “I’m just glad and thankful that it was a barricade and not a pedestrian or a worker that could’ve been hit.”
Police are still working to track down the driver who collided with the barricades.
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