JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Jordan Orren was expecting a quiet drive home after visiting with his coworkers on Monday night. What he said he got instead was the fright of his life and a ripped-off bumper after his car dropped into a sinkhole.
“My boss at work is leaving so we wanted to get her a little goodbye basket,” Orren said. “Went to the mall, bought her some gifts. Came out, everything was fine, there were cars parked in the same spot.”
The spot that now houses a large sinkhole behind The Mall at Johnson City looked like a puddle at first, Orren said. When he drove over it after dinner, however, Orren said it felt like he’d hit a massive bump.
“It was almost like going over a speed bump max speed,” Orren said. “Like as fast as you could possibly go. I had no idea what happened. I got out of my car, turned around, and there was just a gaping hole in the earth.”
The puddle was gone and in its place was a hole in the ground. He said he approached it to take a video, and more of the parking lot fell away into the dark.
“I guess as soon as my front tires went in, I had enough momentum going forward to come out of the hole,” Orren said. “It was definitely probably one of the scariest things I’ve ever had to deal with.”
Orren was thankful that he wasn’t hurt in the incident, but he said his car wasn’t so lucky.
“It ripped off the wheel well for sure, I guess that’s the piece that’s missing,” Orren said. “But other than that, the bumper’s ripped off. I think it runs fine, but I haven’t driven it since then so I wanted to wait until it gets checked out.”
At the time of the incident, Orren said a report was filed with police. He said he hasn’t heard anything from the mall on the matter.
“Information has been exchanged,” Orren said. “But yeah, no we haven’t heard anything back from the mall yet.”
In the meantime, Orren said he’s driving much more carefully.
“I was definitely in shock, still am,” Orren said. “You can’t even trust a puddle of water on the ground anymore, so I don’t know. I’m going to have to learn how to drive again I guess.”
In a statement to News Channel 11, mall officials did not address Orren’s incident directly. They did however say repairs were in the works.
“The safety of our guests, retailers and employees is our top priority, and no injuries occurred as a result of the sink hole that formed overnight. Repairs will be taking place soon.”Ashley Grindstaff, General Manager-the Mall at Johnson City
From the moment his car fell through Tuesday evening, Orren said the hole had grown significantly.
“I would say that originally it was about like the size of half of a car,” Orren said. “And now it is definitely the size of a full car.”