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Sinkhole Survivor To Operator: ‘I Am Underneath The Ground’

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Suzanne Le Mignot Suzanne Le Mignot
Suzanne Le Mignot serves as CBS 2 Chicago’s general assignment...
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(CBS) — The mother and son were delivering newspapers in Kane County earlier this week and had no idea part of the remote road had washed away – until it was too late.

CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot has their story.

San Juanita Pineda looks at pictures of the sinkhole where she and her son were trapped for about an hour early Tuesday morning.

“I can’t believe I fell — we fell — in that hole. It’s scary. It’s shocking. It’s incredible,” she says fr

It’s believed the sinkhole was caused by heavy downpours. Pineda was delivering newspapers with her 15-year-old son, Benjamin Hernandez, in unincorporated Burlington Township. Seconds after the impact, Pineda called 9-1-1.

“I am underneath the ground,” she told an emergency dispatcher.

“You are underneath the ground at this time?” was the surprised response.

While on the phone with the 9-1-1 operator, Pineda thought emergency crews were arriving. But it was someone else – another vehicle.

“It flew over us, like it was a movie,” she tells Le Mignot.

The man who drove over Pineda’s Ford Taurus rushed over to the sinkhole, yelling to see if anyone was inside the car.

Pineda’s teen son was in the back seat of the Ford Taurus.

A Ford Taurus drove into a sinkhole in Kane County, and then a pickup truck drove over the top of the car. (Credit: Radioman911.com)

A Ford Taurus drove into a sinkhole in Kane County, and then a pickup truck drove over the top of the car. (Credit: Radioman911.com)

Thursday, he was heavily sedated and recovering at Loyola University Medical Center. He has a fractured spine, broken ribs, jaw and has lost several teeth.

“I’m a single mom. I don’t know where to turn now,” Pineda says.

She is the mother of four, and Benjamin is her youngest. She works two jobs, one at a factory; the other, delivering newspapers to make ends meet.

The family car was destroyed in the accident.

The family, which is on public assistance, has set up a fund at Chase Bank to help with the teen’s dental bills. To donate, you can take a check or money order written to the “Benjamin Hernandez Medical Fund” to any Chase bank location. Or you can contact Pineda to donate cash by emailing here at pineda.pineda52@yahoo.com.

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