Man remains hospitalized after car falls into Irondequoit sinkhole; Water main break slows repairs

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IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y. – Brenda Wyche was helping her husband Frankie Hernandez on his paper route Wednesday morning.

She was driving on St. Paul Boulevard. He was in the back of the car, organizing the newspapers.

They were going slow, Wyche said, because the rain was coming down hard and water was rising on the street.

All of the sudden, she said, the road gave way underneath them.

Investigators believe their car fell 15 feet into the sinkhole.

Initially, first responders told us they were both rescued and had minor injuries but News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke spoke with Wyche, who says her husband was seriously injured.   

Wyche says the car flipped on its side as it fell – the side Hernandez was sitting on. When they got their bearings at the bottom, they were both able to escape from a window but were still left stuck in the hole.

Neighbors helped pull her up, but Hernandez was hurt much worse.

He was eventually rescued and taken to the hospital. He has serious head and spinal injuries, and the recovery will be long.

The crews working to repair the road say Wyche and Hernandez could have never seen it coming.

“The washout occurred below the pavement and there was nothing for a driver to see before they rolled over it,” says Karen Cox, the chief of highway and bridge engineering for Monroe County. 

Those crews are now working 18 feet underground to fix the broken sewer pipe, hoping to ensure no one else has to endure what Wyche and Hernandez did on Wednesday morning.

“The storm sewer is over 100 years old and with the very intense rainfall we had and the storm the other night, the pipe is old and a portion of it failed because it was running full,” Cox said.

That work was slowed Friday morning after a water main break at the intersection of St. Paul and Armstrong Avenue flooded the area. The Monroe County Water Authority was working on it Friday.

St. Paul Boulevard will remain closed between Paxton and Wimbledon roads while storm sewer repairs continue into the next week.

A GoFundMe has been started to help Frank Hernandez.