75-year-old woman falls into filthy drainage pit - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Chris Hrapsky

75-year-old woman falls into filthy drainage pit

DODGE CENTER, MN (FOX 47) -- Stuck up to her neck in oily, grimy, freezing water for almost 30-minutes, tonight a 75-year-old Dodge Center woman tells us about her terrifying moment.

Lena Sanson says, "I've been in a tornado. I've been in a flood. I've been in a couple fires and car wrecks, but this is the scariest thing that's ever happen to me."

It was a Thursday afternoon and 75-year-old Sanson drove up to the Freerksen Car Wash in Dodge Center.

"Every week I wash my car," says Sanson.

She paid her money and drove in, but this time the metal drainage grate was missing.

The car tire slipped into the empty gap, trapping Sanson's car.

"I honked and honked, but nobody came," she says.

Lena says she got out of the car and looked for help, but a few steps later she fell some six feet, scraping her side all the way into an uncovered drainage hole.

"I wouldn't even call it water, it's sludge," says Sanson.

She fell up to her neck in oil, dirt, and chemical infused 50-degree car wash water.

"I kept thinking, keep calm, scream. And I screamed for 25 minutes. My throat was so raw," Sanson says.

She was trapped and freezing for nearly a half-hour.

"I tried to jump up and grab the edges to pull myself out, but I couldn't jump high enough," she says.

Roger Deyo was next in line for a wash.  After a while, he decided to see what was wrong.

Roger Deyo says, "I could hear this person say help me help me."

Sanson says, "And he could hear me, but couldn't find me."

Deyo says, "And I said, where are you? And she said, 'I'm in the hole.'"

Not able to pull Sanson out, Deyo found two workers nearby to help. Turns out, they were employees of Schimek's Septic, Inc., hired to empty out the drains.

Deyo says, "I think that somebody just forgot to put a cone in front of it so nobody could drive in."

When she escaped, Sanson warmed herself in a hot bath. No broken bones but she has bruises all over her body.

"I've probably washed my hair ten times, and it's probably coming out the back of my hair," she says.

Sanson says now she panics if she can't see where she's walking.

"They should have had some kind of a sign on that door. Out of order, anything, and I would have never gone in there," Sanson says.

The wounds on her body will heal, the ones in her head might not.

Mark Freerksen, owner of Freerksen Trucking did not want to comment about the incident.

Sanson is deciding if she will file a lawsuit.

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