After being missing and presumed dead for the last two weeks, Athens local Greg Brinkman was found alive and well at the bottom of a pothole on East State Street yesterday.
Brinkman was found when the driver of a 2007 Ford Fiesta made an error while navigating the sad remains of what once was a relatively flat and drivable street. The vehicle fell into the very same pothole where Brinkman had become stuck when he thought he saw a penny at the bottom 12 days earlier. Together, Brinkman and the car’s driver pulled themselves back up to the relative safety of street level.
“Honestly, if that driver had fallen into one of the thousands of other potholes in that general area, I probably wouldn’t have been able to make it out of there alive,” Brinkman said. “That guy is my hero.”
The driver in question requested to remain anonymous, both in order to avoid attention from the public and to not be further embarrassed by owning a Ford Fiesta.
After investigating the scene, which was identified as being near Tim Horton’s, local pothole experts agreed that Brinkman would have had almost no chance of getting out of the pothole alone: the pothole was too deep for him to climb out of unassisted, even if he hadn’t had to eat his own right foot to survive.
Thanks to the rapidly changing temperatures in Athens this winter, the number of potholes in the city is now higher than ever before. So far in 2018, seven toddlers, 14 cats, three dogs and two elderly people have been rescued by the Athens Fire Department after becoming trapped in potholes.
“We try to do sweeps of areas with large concentrations of potholes as often as possible,” said Athens fire chief Robert Rymer. “Not sure how we missed that guy for two weeks, though. Whoops.”
Following Brinkman’s escape from the pothole, the city of Athens sent out a press release encouraging residents to protect themselves from pothole entrapment with strategies such as only driving when necessary until the city becomes part of a region of the U.S. with more predictable weather and practicing aggressive swerving techniques.
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