Giant Sink Hole Opens in Salt Lake City, Causes Fatal Car Crash, Killing Justine Barneck (PHOTOS)
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A 15-year-old girl died after heavy rains caused a huge sink hole to open on a Utah highway, swallowing one vehicle and causing her father's SUV to careen off the road.
Authorities said the crash that killed Justine Barneck and injured her father, Michael Barneck, late Wednesday night happened when the road collapsed in front of them, leaving a patch of asphalt on the edge of the hole that the vehicle hit, causing the fatal accident.
At about the same time, a second car actually went into the 40-foot-wide, 30-foot-deep hole, said Utah Highway Patrol Cpl. Todd Johnson. The driver of that vehicle, 37-year-old Helen Paulson, was hurt, but the extent of her injuries was not immediately clear.
The accidents near Tabiona, about 90 miles east of Salt Lake City, came about 15 minutes after a heavy storm began at about 11:30 p.m., quickly overflowing a clogged culvert and washing out the two-lane state road, Johnson said.
Michael Barneck was taken to a hospital with head injuries and is expected to be released Friday.
MORE AMAZING SINKHOLES:
In this photo released by Guatemala's Presidency on Monday May 31, 2010, a sinkhole covers a street intersection in downtown Guatemala City. A day earlier authorities blamed the heavy rains caused by tropical storm Agatha as the cause of the crater that swallowed a a three-story building. (Luis Echeverria, Guatemala's Presidency/AP)
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A sinkhole approximately 25 feet deep and 50 feet wide swallowed the home of a Florida woman in June 2012. Neighbors were instructed to evacuate their homes.
More than 800 people were evacuated from a village in China's Guangxi province in early June 2012 after a sinkhole threatened the surrounding land. The hole was initially built as a well to provide water to children in a nearby schoolhouse. The hole is reported to have caused one building to collapse, six to tilt, and one to collapse.
In a Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011 photo, a gaping sinkhole has opened in the bottom of a pool at the home of Brad Thelen in Erwin, Tenn., draining the family's swimming pool. Thelen said the noise of the sinkhole opening under the in-ground pool awakened his wife Chemene on Wednesday night, according to The Johnson City Press. By Thursday evening, it had tripled in size and was not far from the Thelans' home. The family removed valuables and was staying with relatives until the sinkhole stabilized. (AP Photo/Johnson City Press, Tony Duncan) MANDATORY CREDIT
Utah Sinkhole Death
This image provided by the Utah Highway Patrol shows the wreckage of a car that ran into a hole, after heavy rain caused the collapse of State Road 35 that opened up a hole 40 feet wide and more than 30 feet deep. A teenage girl is dead and her father seriously injured after this SUV plunged into a hole in the highway near Tabiona, Utah early Thursday July 14, 2011.
Workers block off the site of a huge sinkhole which occurred overnight in Beijing on April 26, 2011. A section of the road collapsed beneath a truck, slightly injuring the driver and a passenger, who both jumped out the vehicle before it sank into the hole. Authorities suspect the hole was caused by the construction of a subway line.
Sinkhole in House
A man inspects a sinkhole formed in a house on July 19, 2011 in the north of Guatemala City. When neighbors heard the loud boom overnight they thought a cooking gas canister had detonated. Instead they found a deep sinkhole the size of a large pot inside a home in a neighborhood just north of Guatemala City. The sinkhole was 12.2 meters (40 feet) deep and 80 centimeters (32 inches) in diameter, an AFP journalist who visited the site reported. Police, members of the country's natural disaster office and water utility company officials came to visit the site. Sinkholes, formed by the natural process of erosion, can be gradual but are often sudden. Guatemala City, built on volcanic deposits, is especially prone to sinkholes, often blamed on a leaky sewer system or on heavy rain.
Sinkhole with Cars
Rene Crete looks over damaged cars at Buy Right Auto on Friday, May 27, 2011 in East Montpelier, Vt. Schools and roads are closed across central Vermont as heavy overnight rains caused flooding that overflowed riverbanks. A Vermont Emergency management official said early Friday almost 150 people were in three shelters in Barre, Montpelier and Berlin.The Vermont National Guard sent emergency response teams and high water vehicles to the area to help local and state emergency management officials.
A utility worker looks underground to examine the scene where a sinkhole was caused when a broken water main collapsed part of Friendship Boulevard on December 3, 2010 in Chevy Chase, Maryland. No one was reported injured in the accident. (Logan Mock-Bunting, Getty Images)
The late afternoon sun casts its warm rays over the sinkholes which mark the dried-out center section of the Dead Sea in this aerial view on September 30, 2010 in southern Israel. (David Silverman, Getty Images)
A Cadillac Escalade sits at the bottom of a sinkhole in Milwaukee, Wis. July 23, 2010, still running almost 20 hours after the driver fell in. Powerful storms pounded southeastern Wisconsin and caused widespread flooding. (Mark Was, AP)
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Green Ooze In Philly
This sinkhole spotted in Philadelphia looks like it's oozing radioactive goo. A Redditor reports that the city actually adds a fluorescent dye.
Rescuers work at the scene of a landslide in Saint-Jude, Quebec as shown from the air on May 11, 2010. Four people, including two children, were killed after a sinkhole triggered by a landslide swallowed their house northeast of Montreal. (Graham Hughes, The Canadian Press/AP)
A 22-ton Los Angeles Fire Department fire truck protrudes from a sinkhole on September 8, 2009 in the Valley Village neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. The sinkhole was apparently caused by a broken 6-inch cast iron pipe. The firefighters were not hurt in the accident. (David McNew, Getty Images)
John Sparkman is dwarfed as he looks into a sinkhole near Picher, Okla., Saturday, April 6, 2008. Years of lead and zinc mining has left turned the town into a Superfund site with sinkholes, lead-laced mountains of rock, and tainted water. (Charlie Riedel, AP)
A massive, approximately 200' x 240', sinkhole opens up and tears apart the pavement of Soledad Mountain Road, October 3, 2007 in the Mount Soledad neighborhood of La Jolla near San Diego, California. The landslide reportedly damaged or destroyed 6 homes and forced the evacuation of at least 20 others. (Kent Horner, Getty Images)
A general view of the huge crater at the collapsed 'Pinheiros' subway station in Sao Paulo, Brazil, January 15, 2007. Brazilian officials said a passenger minivan had fallen to the bottom of a 40-meter (130-foot)-deep pit dug to facilitate delivery of supplies for workers building an underground railway line. (Mauricio Lima, AFP/Getty Images)
Richard Horita looks at a sinkhole at his home, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2006, in Paauilo that was caused when a 6.7 earthquake struck the island of Hawaii. (Mark J. Terrill, AP)
Residents in Beckham County, Oklahoma near Sayre say a massive sinkhole suddenly appeared overnight. They say it's so big a small house can fit inside it (Credit: KFOR-TV)
Justine Barneck was very close to her family, especially her twin sister, Jentri, who was not in the vehicle, said older sister Jamie Allred.
"She was an absolute angel," Allred said.
Allred said her sister's death was deeply felt in Tabiona, a town of a few hundred people at the base of the Uinta Mountains. She said the family has strong roots in the community, where one school holds kindergarten through high school students.
"She was more than willing to help anyone. I don't think there could be many 15-year-olds like her ... she was perfect from day one," Allred told The Associated Press.
All three people were wearing seat belts, Johnson said.
The highway will remain closed while repairs are made and traffic is being diverted.