Couple survives sinkhole: 'Thought we would be buried alive'

- Vinny and Janet Coyne thought they were going to die inside a large sinkhole.

"I thought I was gonna get buried alive," said Vinny. 

The couple have been through a lot in 60 years of marriage, but nothing compares to their trip to pick up lunch at  the Checkers on State Road 200 in Ocala on Saturday. They puled out of the drive through, and the earth started collapsing under their car.

"The front of the car went down. I saw the opening!" Vinny explained. "I thought 'Oh my God! What are we going to do here?'"

His wife jumped out and started screaming for him to get out, too.

"I just got out of there," Janet explained. "I couldn't tell you what it sounded like or nothing."

Seconds later, their only car plunged 20 feet straight down into the sink hole.

"I was frozen. People were grabbing me out of the car.," Vinny explained. "Probably 30 seconds later, it fell down into the hole."

Just a quarter-mile away, near the Goodwill on SW 27th Street, a second sinkhole opened.  Darren Park, the City of Ocala's Public Works Director told FOX 35 that small pockets of the city got more than six inches of rain in roughly two hours over the weekend. Parks said, given the lack of rain in Central Florida recently, it makes the ground ripe for sinkholes.

Vinny said they believe their only car is totaled, and they need help.

"Hopefully, Checkers will step up to the plate and help me replace the car," he said.

All of it is an experience they'd rather forget, the Coynes said.

"Thank God we're OK," added Vinny.

Janet echoed that sentiment, saying,  "I'm so happy."

Who is going to fix the sinkhole at Checkers? The city's Public Works Director said it's Checkers' responsibility, since the hole is on private property.

The city said it will most likely be the entity that fixes the sink hole along the pond at SW 27th Street.
 

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