by Jonathan Weaver
Even though the rain had already stopped, more than 100 homes in West Kittanning Borough lost electricity last night.
Power went out at approximately 8PM due to a one-vehicle accident at the corner of Orchard and Northern Avenues, where a green Chevrolet 4×4 truck crashed into a utility pole and suspended electric service.
The non-injured driver, whose identity was not released by the State police last night, was seen taking a sobriety test at the scene of the incident, but a determination was not released.
The telephone pole was near the Lifesteps program center and Clay-Wood Lumber Company.
All three West Kittanning Fire Department units responded to the incident since 911 dispatchers alerted crews that wires were spread across the roadway.
Borough Mayor Bernie Bowser, Jr. said he was leaving a town-hall meeting with State Rep. Jeff Pyle (R-Ford City) when the power went out.
Fire Chief Bernie Bowser, Sr. initially reported 15 blocks of power was disrupted by the crash.
West Penn Power Area Manager Tom Kearney said more than 100 customers were effected, but most of the system’s power was restored within the hour.
“When the vehicle hit the pole at 8:06PM, we had 112 customers interrupted, and at 9:05PM, we restored service to all but eight (customers).
“The pole that was hit by the vehicle is broken, and our crew was able to disconnect that pole from the rest of the system and restore the rest of the system,” Kearney explained.
Kearney said crews only had to navigate a short distance from their Kittanning location to service the broken pole and restore service. He estimated the remaining eight customers should have had service before midnight.
The power outage caused many local residents to exit their homes and investigate the disturbance.
Some called neighbors who had electricity and were surprised by the spotty service. For instance, outdoor lights were seen along 1st Avenue and at the West Kittanning Fire Hall along Arthur Street a mere two blocks away.
Kim Schaub was watching television at her 108 Northern Avenue home when it all went dark.
“I saw (the driver) come to the stop sign, but didn’t pay much attention after that until I heard a big boom,” Schaub said.
Zachery Kanish, girlfriend Kylie Atwood and her sister, Shannon, were looking for Halloween costumes before exiting their Northern Avenue house to investigate.
Kanish reportedly prevented further injury by alerting Shannon of the fallen power lines before she ran to assist the driver.
Power came back on inside the house within a half-hour after the crash, allowing the trio to brainstorm their costumes.
“I wasn’t looking for anything too sexy or scandalous – maybe something original like (hip-hop singer) Nicki Minaj,” Shannon said.
Shannon, who was visiting the couple from Downtown Kittanning, estimated 50 local residents were in the neighboring parking lots while the utility pole was down.
The vehicle was towed from the roadway by Morris Towing.