Dashonne Voss was turning southbound onto U.S. 41 from Bayshore Gardens on Monday afternoon when she lost control of her Toyota Avalon, striking a fire hydrant and creating one of the most bizarre scenes witnesses have seen.
Uber driver Travis Silva passed the scene shortly after it happened at 2:30 p.m. and said water was going everywhere, but the vehicle was still fully upright. When he returned about an hour later, the entire front end of Voss' vehicle was submerged into the hole, leaving the rear tires fully off the ground.
When the vehicle hit the fire hydrant, it broke the force main and turned southbound lanes of U.S. 41, as well as areas of the nearby CVS parking lot, into a running river. Cedar Hammock Fire District and the Manatee County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene and shut down the southbound lanes for more than an hour. One lane was reopened by 4:30 p.m. and the remaining lanes were open by about 5 p.m.
"I'm not sure if I turned the wheel too far, but I just lost control and started skidding," Voss said.
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Visibly shaken from the incident and through tears, Voss said she just wasn't sure what happened.
"I tried to hit the brakes but didn't have any and the car just accelerated on its own," she said. "The next thing I know, I came to a very, very sudden stop. The only thing I remember from there was hitting the air bag and thinking, 'Oh my God, am I hurt? Am I bleeding? That's all I remember."
Voss was apparently physically fine and watched along with several bystanders as her vehicle began to sink into the hole created by the flooding rush of water nose first. A light pole in the CVS parking lot crashed down as a proverbial exclamation point.
"It sucks about the car," she said. "But I'm feeling very blessed. It definitely could have been much worse."
Manatee County public utility officials could not be reached late Monday to determine what, if any, effect the crash will have on water service in the area.