Bexar deputy identified as victim inside car swallowed by massive sinkhole

Victim identified as Bexar County Deputy Dora Linda (Solis) Nishihara


SAN ANTONIO – The identity of a woman who was found inside a car that was swallowed by a massive sinkhole was released Monday afternoon.

The victim was identified by the Bexar County Sheriff's Office as Deputy Dora Linda (Solis) Nishihara. 

SAWS and San Antonio fire officials said the ground ruptured sometime before 5:30 p.m. Sunday on Quintana Road, located off of New Laredo Highway on the city's Southwest Side.

Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau issued the following statement today after learning about Nishihara's death: 

“We are heartbroken to confirm Deputy Dora Linda (Solis) Nishihara passed away after her car fell into a sinkhole Sunday. Our thoughts and prayers are with her friends and family. Deputy Nishihara worked as a Reserve Deputy from August 2009 to October 2016 before transitioning to a part-time Deputy at the Bexar County Courthouse in October of this year. We are assisting her family as they deal with this tragedy.”

According to KSAT's Josh Skurnik, Nishihara's family said she was driving to work when she fell in the sinkhole.

Officials said two vehicles fell into the sinkhole. One was driven by a 60-year-old man, who was rescued by two Good Samaritans.

First responders arrived and found a second car submerged in the 10-foot sinkhole. SAWS and fire officials began to work around the clock in an effort to get both vehicles out. 

Crews pulled both vehicles out just after 2 p.m. Monday.

Fire Chief Charles Hood said retrieving the second car out of the sinkhole was a very challenging task. Firefighters had to use a 100-ton crane to lower crews to the car.

"This is a very challenging recovery for us," Hood said. "We did suffer a couple of collapses of the sink hold, when it widened further. Then we were trying to connect the car, so, our technical rescue team, several firefighters were exposed to raw sewage at a fast flowing rate, very cold temperatures of water."

SAWS officials said the rupture of the 96-inch sewer pipe occurred at the junction of decades old pipe with new material SAWS just installed this year. No further information or an official cause for the road collapse has been released.

"We wanted to make sure that we connected that vehicle at all four points," Hood said. "The vehicle was very heavy. It was full of mud. It was full water. We pulled it out and allowed it to drain a little bit and then we moved it over."

SAWS estimates the sewer spill is about 100,000 gallons and TCEQ has been notified. What caused the sinkhole remains under investigation.

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