Sinkhole Opens Beneath Town Garbage Truck

T.E. McMorrow

While many drivers in East Hampton Town have been angered by the recent blight of large potholes along Montauk Highway from Napeague to the Lighthouse, that have been destroying tires and tire rims, they have nothing on the sinkhole that opened up on Montauk Main Street Monday morning.

"We were picking up the garbage," Tim Schellinger, the driver of an East Hampton Town Department of Parks and Recreation garbage truck, said as he stood on the side of the road waiting for assistance, his truck mired in an asphalt pit. He and a co-worker were emptying trashcans after a busy holiday weekend on the north side of Main Street, between Essex and South Edison Streets. They had pulled over by a pail west of Martell's Stationary.

"When I went to leave, the road caved in," Mr. Schellinger said. The entire rear left wheel went through the pavement, immobilizing the truck. The gaping hole was about two square yards.

According to Stephen Lynch, East Hampton Town's highway superintendent, a drain belonging to the state had partially collapsed beneath the weight of the truck. "Thank God nobody got hurt," he said.

The Police Department dispatched a heavy duty tow truck to the scene, which arrived about 45 minutes later. It took the crew about 20 minutes to tug the truck out of its hole. Mr. Schellinger drove the truck away, with all concerned no worse for the wear.

It was a first time experience for him, he said, "and, hopefully, the last."