Sleepy motorist pops power poles on S.E. 82nd Avenue

It wasn’t a boozy driver who did the deed, officials say – but the wreck still left thousand in the dark …

For several hours, it appeared as if the car crash into utility poles would close down S.E. 82nd Avenue throughout the whole morning commute.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
There weren’t any skid marks on the road after a 1997 Ford Taurus was involved in a one-car crash which took out utility poles – and power to many homes in the Lents Neighborhood– on S.E. 82nd Avenue at Clatsop Street on May 22nd, at 2:36 am.

“Reports show that the driver fell asleep at the wheel,” said Portland Police Bureau Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

These fallen utility poles, held up only by their wires, cut off electricity for thousands of customers in the area.

The car didn’t look badly damaged before it was towed, Simpson commented. And, the driver wasn’t badly injured, considering the impact of the crash.

However, thousands of households in the area woke up without electricity that morning. Portland General Electric crews arrived at daybreak, and power was restored by 10:30 am.

PGE Crewmembers evaluate the damage and make a plan of action.

It looked at first as though rush hour traffic would come to a standstill, but the commuter traffic was routed around the workers.

“There was no arrest made or citations given in this crash,” Simpson told East Portland News.

Traffic was routed around utility crews, as they began to replace the poles and worked to restore power.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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