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Victim's Relatives Say Sinkhole Warnings...

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CLINTON — While the North Carolina Department ofTransportation says it doesn't know what happened to signs warning of awashout on State Road 1128 in Sampson County, relatives of two peopleinjured there say signage has never been adequate.

What started out as a simple drive home for Vanessa Chestnut andher friend Tawanda Sampson, ended in a nightmare inside Chestnut'svehicle after it fell into a deep crevass left in the road by rushingwater during Hurricane Fran. Two hours later, another car,driven by Charlene Rogers, also toppled off the edge of the road. She wasable to climb out and go for help.

Chestnut's brother Antonio says there simply wasn't enough warningabout the dangerous conditions.

Six hours after the women were rescued, DOT workers were installinghuge new signs on either side of the washout. DOT officials say they hadplaced cones and signs up after the road washed out, but theyhad apparently been knocked down afterward.

Firefighter Raymond Civilie was among the first at the scene afterSampson's call. He says there has never been adequate signage,and that in the dark, it would have been impossible to avoid the hole ifyou didn't know it was there.

Vanessa Chestnut and Sampson are listed in stable condition at SampsonRegional Medical Center.

Officials say both vehicles were traveling at about 55 mph.

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