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Woman tells of escape when car plunged into sinkhole

By Matt Pearce

Los Angeles Times (MCT)

LAST UPDATED: 5:45 p.m. HST, Jul 4, 2013

Pamela Knox doesn’t remember exactly how many times she has driven down that street near downtown Toledo, Ohio, but she knows it’s been a lot.

Then on Wednesday, while returning home from errands, her 2010 Chevy Malibu suddenly plunged into the dark.

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!” the 60-year-old elementary school principal cried as she felt the car continue sinking.

Her husband, Kenny Knox, 53, was headed to work when he noticed emergency vehicles going the other way.

Then he got a call. It was Pamela.

“I’ve been in an accident,” she told him. “I need you.”

When he got to North Detroit Avenue and Bancroft Street, he couldn’t find the accident.

Then he noticed the sinkhole — well over a dozen feet in diameter and at least 10 feet deep, that had suddenly opened up in the street, fallen through a layer of brick and taken his wife into a pit.

The good news was that Pamela Knox realized that she was able to move and to open her door.

The bad news was that she realized her car was filling with water from a large pipe right below the street that had broken open, pumping water into her vehicle.

“Oh my goodness,” she recalled thinking. “They’re not going to get me out of here in time.”

Pamela Knox decided not to look at the water that was gathering in the back seat, and the firefighters who responded decided to drop a ladder to her and get her out.

They told her to get ready because the car was continuing to sink and she needed to get out as quickly as possible.

With Kenny Knox watching — feeling helpless to save his wife because he wanted to climb down there and get her — they made their move.

“Open the door!” one rescuer called to her as a firefighter, tethered to the surface, descended the ladder. “Quick, quick, quick, quick! Come on out, come on out! Hurry! Come on, come on, come on, let’s go! Go, go, go!”

Pamela Knox got out of the car, climbed the ladder, and was out of the hole in less than a minute.

She was safe.

And as they began walking away from the hole, more chunks of the street fell on her car.

She was unhurt. She’s a praying woman and she attributed her rescue to her faith in Jesus.

“I know that’s what’s really kept me alive, was calling out his name,” Pamela Knox said Thursday.

Kenny added, “I believe it was a miracle.”

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