CHEROKEE COUNTY – A Lake Palestine-area woman was rescued Monday night after falling into a sinkhole in the Shadybrook subdivision just outside of Bullard.

The woman was treated and released from an area hospital early Tuesday morning, according to a member of the Shadybrook Property Owners Association.

The association member declined to give the woman's name, but confirmed she was a resident there.

Meanwhile, Lt. Mike Terry of the Jacksonville Fire Department said a unit from the local department responded to the call, as did units from the Flint-Gresham and Bullard fire departments, along with a rescue crew from Tyler.

The call was initiated with the Lake Palestine East Volunteer Fire Department, he said.

Jacksonville firefighters arrived at the scene on Wylie Road about 10 p.m., and because of heavy rainfall, “we were moving quickly to get her out” of the hole, which was approximately 30 feet deep, Terry said.

“We were trying to bring her up onto a ledge on the ravine before it collapsed further,” he said, adding it took nearly an hour to rescue the woman, who was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

The sinkhole formed as a result of the roadbed collapsing into the creek below, Terry said.

“The road itself went over a culvert and all that collapsed,” he said.

The property association member confirmed the sinkhole was formed by a washout around the culvert, adding that the area had been barricaded since daylight Monday for safety reasons.

Both she and Terry have noted that heavy rains have caused similar problems in the past.

“I believe that's what this was,” Terry said. “As much water as we got?”

Recently, a one-lane bridge going into the subdivision washed out, she said, so residents were using a bridge going through the adjacent East Lake Subdivision until that structure washed out soon after, she said.

“Whoever had the bridge fixed, we used it,” she said. “Our bridge is passable now, and we're able to use that, but the people on the other side of the washout have another route to get out of the subdivision.”

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