WESTWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A drive to the store took a dangerous turn Tuesday afternoon in Bergen County, New Jersey.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, a Mercedes Benz ended up stuck in a hole dug by a utility work crew, and there was a dangerous surprise for the driver at the bottom of the hole.
The driver, Robert Mutter, spoke exclusively to Aiello Tuesday night.
“All of a sudden – boom, and then the air bag went off,” Mutter said.
Mutter said he cannot really explain it – how he missed the “road closed” sign on Broadway where the boroughs of Westwood and Hillsdale meet.
He ended up planting his Mercedes sedan in a utility hole with the rear end up in the air.
The airbag deployed in Mutter’s face.
“I was standing on the driver’s seat while the guys were hiking me through the sunroof,” he said.
This hole is awfully hard to miss. It’s about 10 feet long, 7 feet wide and 5 feet deep, and there’s a lot more than just mud and rock down at the bottom.
A utility main carrying natural gas runs at the bottom of the hole, and one of Mutter’s car’s tires ended up right on top of it.
“And I said: ‘Is this a gas pipe?’ Just let me out of here if it is!” Mutter said.
Fortunately, the pipe did not break.
“They checked it – there was no leaks,” said witness Joe Gangemi. “But their fear was when they pulled the car out they might rupture the pipe” and cause an explosion.
Bergen Brookside Towing used an elaborate rigging system to secure the car and pull it out of the hole.
“Deadlifted it off of there — no problem whatsoever,” said Chris Greco of the towing firm.
The car had some damage, and so did Mutter – but his injuries were minor.
“The car can be fixed,” Mutter said, adding that the fact that he came out of it safe is what mattered.