By Martha Shanahan Sentinel Staff
WINCHESTER — Part of a Winchester road collapsed Thursday, sending a septic truck into the brook below.
The driver escaped before the truck fell.
Andrew Lightfoot of Swanzey was driving a Septic Manager company truck east on Old Chesterfield Road when he was directed to drive around a crew doing construction work on the road, he said.
The town's highway department was working on removing a culvert at the time, Town Administrator Shelly Walker said.
"It needed to be replaced because it was an old culvert that ... they tried to unclog, and that wasn't going to happen so it needed to replaced," she said.
Lightfoot attempted to drive around the crew when the road started collapsing and his truck slid into the guardrail, he said.
He was able to get out of the vehicle before the road totally collapsed, sending the truck into the brook below.
A video of the incident from Septic Manager co-owner Ed Csenge of Sullivan shows the truck, a Dodge Ram, falling suddenly through the crumbling street.
"The road washed away right under him," Septic Manager co-owner Laurel Csenge said.
"Fortunately it was a big enough truck to span (the gap) so he could get out," she said. "If you had a little car it would have eaten him right up."
Lightfoot was on his way back from servicing the portable toilets at Pisgah State Park, but no effluence leaked out of the truck.
Workers from Porter's Diesel Service Inc. in Winchester helped make a platform to remove the truck from the brook, Laurel Csenge said.
The truck was not as badly damaged as Csenge expected, she said, but the engine may have sustained water damage.
Matthew Donachie, a resident of Old Winchester Road, said he has seen the highway department doing work on the culvert for several weeks after water had built up and blocked it this fall.
Donachie said he had noticed an irregularity in the road when he drove over the culvert Wednesday.
"The road dipped where it shouldn't dip," he said.
Town officials had not advised residents against driving over that part of the road, Donachie said.
Winchester Highway Superintendent Dale Gray could not be reached for comment today.
Old Chesterfield Road remained closed to through traffic this morning.
Martha Shanahan can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1434, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @MShanahanKS.
hmmmm , more performance bonuses ??