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

November 17th, 2009
Power restored after downtown outage caused by SUV hitting pole


A vehicle struck a utility pole near the Hays County Justice Center in San Marcos causing a power outage that affected a large swath of the city, including downtown and areas surrounding Texas State University.

The accident cut electricity to homes and businesses at least as far away as Craddock Avenue starting at about 6:45 p.m. Tuesday. By 7:45 p.m., a San Marcos Police Department dispatcher said power was restored citywide.

Speaking just before the start of a 7 p.m. city council meeting, Fire Chief Les Stephens said a driver struck a utility pole resulting in the outage but he did not yet know details. Electricity at City Hall was not affected.

Multiple traffic lights at major intersections, including those at the courthouse square and Hopkins and Ranch Road 12, were not functioning during the outage resulting in backed up traffic on thoroughfares like Hopkins.

UPDATE 8:41 p.m. 11/17/09: The driver of a Chevrolet Suburban headed toward Lyndon B. Johnson Drive on Martin Luther King Drive lost control of her vehicle and struck a utility pole, Fire Marshal Ken Bell said.

The collision caused a secondary wire to connect with a primary line tripping a safety switch at the electric  substation on Aquarena Springs Drive, Bell said.

“If it had been a different pole, it would have been out for hours but it was secondary so it was only out for about 30 minutes,” Bell said.

The opened circuit caused power loss to all San Marcos Electric Utility customers served by that substation, an area that includes downtown and part of the Texas State University area. Residential areas including neighborhoods along Hopkins, San Antonio, Martin Luther King Drive, Ranch Road 12 and Craddock Avenue were also affected.

Bell said he did not know how many homes and businesses that entails. Electric utility officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Emergency workers were busy with multiple car accidents immediately following the utility pole collision, Bell said, but he could not say if the wrecks were related to the outage. The original wreck may have been caused by the vehicle’s failed brakes, Bell said.

Firefighters also extinguished a tree that caught on fire after power was restored, Bell said.

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3 thoughts on “Power restored after downtown outage caused by SUV hitting pole

  1. Too bad that taking out only 1 pole would have such a major consequence. It’s an inadvertent demo of how easily our critical infrastructure can be taken out of service. Terrorists and others who might wish to cause us harm already know this, but it’s a reminder to the rest of us that we are quite vulnerable.

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