‘We’re at a loss for words’: California sinkhole devours cars despite warning signs

California Highway Patrol: ‘This was 100 percent preventable. There is no excuse. The signs are clear, visible, and unobstructed’

For the second time in two weeks, a sinkhole in a collapsed road in California has swallowed a vehicle after a driver ignored road closure signs, according to law enforcement.

The two-lane road near Tracy, a city about 90km west of San Francisco, collapsed earlier this month following weeks of destructive storms that wreaked havoc across the state. The damage and signs warning of the road’s closure didn’t stop drivers from attempting to traverse Kasson Road, which commuters use to travel to nearby Stockton, Manteca and Modesto, according to the local California Highway Patrol office.

“There are concrete rails across the roadway. It takes a little bit of effort to manoeuvre around it to get past it,” says Jesse Skinner of the law-enforcement agency.

Still, the office is aware of at least two vehicles whose drivers got them stuck in the collapsed roadway. Over the weekend a truck fell into the hole, prompting police to issue a citation to the driver for travelling on the closed road.


Authorities appear to be growing increasingly exasperated over motorists’ disregard for the warnings. “It happened again. We can’t make this stuff up,” the California Highway Patrol office wrote on Facebook. “This was 100 per cent preventable. There is no excuse. The signs are clear, visible, and unobstructed.”

Days before that the driver of a Volkswagen estate tried to drive down the closed road and also ended up in the hole. “We’re at a loss for words. If only there were signs and/or barriers that could have prevented this,” the office wrote, then pointing out that there were in fact signs.

It happened again. We can’t make this stuff up. This was 100 percent preventable. There is no excuse. The signs are...

Posted by CHP - Tracy on Saturday, January 28, 2023

Shortly after the road first closed but before it split and sank, a different car had ignored the signs and driven through the closure.

The office has published information about alternative routes but has continued to respond to calls about drivers who ignored warnings. Recent storms hit the area hard, closing some roads for the first time, including Kasson Road.

“It’s not a closure we’ve had set up in that area before,” Skinner says. “We don’t have an officer that can man the closure the whole time.” – Guardian