Rains create a crater at Wailua home

WAILUA — At around noon on Monday, Shannon Crandell left her house to pick up her kids from school. As she went down her long, sloped driveway, Shannon noticed something was wrong with the end the road. It was gone.

The massive rains that doused Kaua‘i on Monday caused a culvert to fail at the end of the Crandell property off of Waipouli Road. Where there was once cement and trees is now occupied by a 30-foot-wide crater that falls nearly 20 feet.

“When I got to the end of the driveway in the car, I noticed there was an abrupt drop,” Shannon said Tuesday.

Shannon drove around the hole and parked her vehicle a safe distance away before getting out to investigate. When she got to the hole, she couldn’t believe what she saw.

The sinkhole had turned into a whirlpool, as two-thirds of the crater had been filled with muddy water. The thrashing waters swept away trees and ate at the walls of the earth, with more chunks of road being sucked in every 30 seconds or so, she said.

 Inside the hole were the remains of the Crandell’s water pipes and electrical wires.

The Crandells quickly shut off their water lines and contacted the County of Kaua‘i to take a look at the property.

Scott Crandell, Shannon’s husband, said nobody seems to be able to offer the family much help.

“We’re out of power. We’re out of water,” Scott Crandell said. “The county came by and everybody is just trying to point fingers, and nobody is helping.”

Because the failed culvert is on private property, county spokesperson Sarah Blane said the county has no responsibility to repair the damage, even though county private property officials initially showed up to asses the damage.  

Scott Crandell, who has lived at the house for three years, said he wasn’t the one who installed the culvert and doesn’t know what to do with it.  “We’ll have to get a huge excavator out here, put in a new culvert, and put in all new power and water lines,” he said.

Scott Crandell said even during torrential rainstorms he’s never seen standing water build up. He said he believes water was somehow diverted from another stream.

He has roped off the damaged area with caution tape and is making sure not to walk anywhere near the edge of the hole. Scott said pieces of earth are still falling into the hole, and it’s not safe to be around.

Scott Crandell said he hopes his insurance will help foot the bill for the damage and is possibly hoping to receive some money from the state to help. But for now, he said his main priority is making sure his family stays away from the hole.

“It’s unsafe,” he said. “My kids like to play around here. We’ve got to make sure someone doesn’t drive down here and off this thing.”

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