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Suspected drunken driver’s vehicle swallowed by sinkhole after he shears Palm Desert hydrant

By in Press Enterprise on November 20, 2017

By Beatriz E. Valenzuela Riverside County Sheriff’s officials say Ross Berman was intoxicated when he drove his vehicle into a fire hydrant which caused a sinkhole that swallowed up his car in Palm Desert. (Courtesy Riverside County Sheriff’s Department)

A suspected drunken driver’s vehicle was swallowed up by a sinkhole authorities say was created by flooding after the intoxicated Palm Desert man sheared a fire hydrant, Riverside County Sheriff’s officials said Monday.

Ross Berman, 37, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence following his release from the hospital from treatment of minor injuries he suffered in the crash, officials said.

Just before midnight Saturday night, deputies with the sheriff’s Palm Desert station were called to the 7700 block of California Avenue for a crash, according to a press release. He was booked into the Riverside County Jail in Banning.

Deputies found Berman outside of his vehicle which was at that point was in the sinkhole, officials said.

“The force and amount of water caused a sinkhole to occur, enveloping the vehicle,” the sheriff’s statement said.

California Avenue from Avenue of the States to Warner Trail was shut down as the Coachella Valley Water District worked for several hours to repair the hydrant and clean-up the sinkhole, officials said.

Investigators ask anyone with information on this incident to call Deputy Zachary Taylor at the Palm Desert station by calling 760-826-1600.

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