San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

November 17th, 2009
Downed pole knocks out downtown power

An SUV knocked down an electric pole at LBJ and MLK, dragging it ten feet Tueday night and shutting down power for 45 minutes in the core of San Marcos. Photos by Andy Sevilla.

By ANDY SEVILLA
Associate Editor

City emergency crews restored power to downtown San Marcos Tuesday night after the central portion of the city was without electricity for about 45 minutes.

City officials said a car struck an electric pole, pitching the city into darkness, shutting down businesses and causing hazards on the streets.

Without traffic signals, interior building lighting or any ground lighting, the only lighting on the courthouse square came from automobile headlights as patrons and business owners spilled onto the sidewalk wondering what happened when all went dark at approximately 6:40 p.m.

The power went out in about 100 square blocks bounded by C.M. Allen Parkway on the east, Bishop Street on the west, University Drive on the north and Cheatham Street on the south.

San Marcos Emergency Coordinator Ken Bell said a sport utility vehicle knocked down a power pole on the corner of Lyndon B. Johnson Drive and Martin Luther King Drive, prompting a substation to shut itself down after it identified a malfunction. Bell said the downed power pole caused a secondary wire to bounce like a “rubber band,” tripping high voltage primary wires and causing the outage.

Emergency crews arrived at the scene moments after the outage and worked for about 45 minutes before successfully restoring power at 7:25 p.m.

“It took us a little while to get here,” Bell said. “A lot of people who were out here helped out. A kid from the karate place was directing traffic. You know, people were paying attention and helped us out where we needed them, so that’s good.”

Bell said a survey of the power lines in the area was necessary to ensure safety before turning power back on.

“We can’t make mistakes,” Bell said. “So we have to make sure everything is okay. We can’t just turn the power back on. That could be bad.”

There word no word on cause of the wreck, not about the driver of the vehicle responsible for the power outage. The vehicle struck the power pole and dragged it for about 10 feet, taking street signs with it and leaving much debris behind.

poleinfrontEmergency crews went to work at MLK Drive and LBJ Drive Tuesday night after an SUV knocked down and electic pole to turn off the lights for 100 blocks of San Marcos.

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