Teen falls in hole left open by utility crew

The hole is at the intersection of Highway 72 and County Line Road.
The hole is at the intersection of Highway 72 and County Line Road.

MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - Huntsville Utilities responded to claims one of their crew's oversight caused a teenager to get stuck in a large hole for hours. The victim's family said there was nothing to alert the public of the danger.

"[I was in there] between two and a half to four hours," said Prentiss Haines.

The 17-year-old can't believe he spent part of his day on Tuesday trapped in a 10 feet deep hole. Prentiss said he took the plunge while returning home from a job interview on Highway 72 in Madison. Huntsville Utility crews were digging holes for new poles at the intersection of Highway 72 and County Line Road.

"I didn't want to rot in that hole," said Haines.

The teenager eventually boosted himself out after nobody came to help. The teen's mom now wants Huntsville Utilities to explain why the area had no warning to alert her son of the potential hazard.

"When you do your job halfway and you leave a hole uncovered that anything or anyone can fall into," said Rachael Haines. "What if he had been injured or he hadn't been able to get out?There's a lot of scenarios that it could have been a lot worse than it was."

The teenager suffered minor bumps and bruises. He estimates the hole's depth at around ten feet.

"There was a situation where some holes were perhaps not secure. We have since addressed that," said Huntsville Utilities spokesperson Joe Gehrdes.

Caution tape, cones, and larger covers are now  across the site. The utility company is also looking at what crews can do in the future to make sure a situation like this doesn't happen again.

"What we are sure of is when you have a project that is ongoing, there can be brief gaps where a hole would be open."

The teenager didn't have a cell phone when he fell into the hole. His mother said they were going out to buy him one to make sure he can always call for help.

Copyright 2014 WAFF. All rights reserved.