Disturbed driver steers car into utility pole

You’ll be surprised at how much damage was caused when this person veered off the road and plowed through this power pole in SE Portland …

SE 52nd Avenue is shut down at SE Flavel Street while police – and PGE – investigates the crash in which a utility pole was cut in three pieces by an errant driver.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A single-car wreck in the 7500 block of SE 52nd Avenue on November 14, at a little after 10:00 p.m., could have had tragic results. Perhaps that was what was intended.

But, the word is that the driver survived the impact that sheared a large wooden utility pole off at its base – the impact splintered the pole about 15 feet up, where cable-TV lines were attached.

Witnesses say this red car spun around after shearing off the utility pole.

As the car spun, it knocked over trash and recycling roll-carts, leaving the area strewn with refuse.

“I heard a car’s engine speed up, like the driver stepped on the gas,” said Shauna Middleton, who was walking out of the mini-mart nearby. “I looked over and saw this little red car just barreling [south] down the street, and looking like it was going to run into the Laundromat. Instead, the car cut right through the pole and spun around.”

Officers on-scene said this wreck most likely wasn’t an accident; information they turned up leads them to believe the driver intentionally drove off the road and into the pole, with the intent of harming herself. The female driver was transported to a local hospital, where her condition is unknown.

Surprisingly, the smash-up didn’t disrupt power in the area – even though the broken pole carries a 12,000 volt electrical distribution line at its top.

Police officers restrain people from walking under the downed utility lines, while a PGE worker examines the damage.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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