Driver dies after gopher tunnels, irrigation water cut sinkhole in road

Driver dies after gopher tunnels, irrigation water cut sinkhole in road
Photo courtesy Canyon County Sheriff's Office
BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - If you've ever driven a country road, take pause: New photos released by the Canyon County Sheriff's Office in Idaho show a sinkhole that killed a woman in mid-July.

Officials at the time said that 32-year-old Sonia Lopez was killed when her car crashed into the 15-foot-wide and 40-foot-long sinkhole on Butte Road near Melba on July 14 at about 4 a.m.

Nampa Highway District Director Casey Bequeath says irrigation water from a nearby field running through gopher tunnels likely weakened the ground beneath the street.

Bequeath says it is difficult to detect such problems ahead of time and that transportation officials had no idea the road was going to collapse.

The crash was not made public until days after it occurred, and the sinkhole had been repaired.