Ottawa car swallowed whole in construction zone



The streets of Ottawa have once again claimed a four-wheeled victim.

Shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday, a woman drive her SUV into a construction zone on Hazeldean Rd. in Kanata and crashed into a large hole where crews have been installing a new watermain.

With the SUV nearly completely inside the hole, the sight of only a small portion of its rear end peeking out above ground was reminiscent of the Orleans sinkhole which opened up on Hwy. 174 in early September.

Witness Rob Hunter was waiting in traffic along Hazeldean when he saw the car veer across the lane. He didn't see the car fall into the hole, but immediately saw smoke pouring out of the opening.

"I went down (to the scene) as fast as I could," said Hunter, who held a ladder steady so the woman could climb out.

The stretch of Hazeldean has been reduced to one lane in both directions while the work is being done.

The car had been removed as of 11 a.m., but mangled pieces of fencing could be seen near the hole.

Hunter, who works in construction himself, believes a concrete barrier should have been used instead of the fencing.

"If that was a work day it would have been a lot more tragic if someone had been down there," he said.

In fact, two people were working in another dug-out section of road near the crash site on Saturday, though they hadn't been there when the car came barreling through.

Hunter said the 52-year-old driver was "shaken up" but didn't appear to be seriously injured. Paramedics confirmed the woman was treated at the scene for minor injuries and taken to hospital.

Kanata South Coun. Allan Hubley said he preferred to wait for the results of the police investigation before commenting on whether or not the construction site was properly secured.

However, Hubley said the site has been well controlled when he has visited previously, with police directing traffic and barricades blocking off obstacles.

"You can be sure that I will be dealing with the police and waiting for the report to come back to make sure that every possible safety measure is take to protect residents," he said.

Hubley added he planned to check out the crash site later Saturday.

City spokesperson Jocelyne Turner confirmed the city was looking into the circumstances surrounding the crash.

Police are investigating.

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