Almost 400 homes near Fremont Avenue lost power for more than 12 hours last week after a Southern California Edison pole was dislodged by a vehicle in an early morning collision.
South Pasadena police officers responded to the crash at 2:13 a.m. Friday, July 30, after a motorist collided so forcefully with the pole in the 400 block of Fremont that it snapped at the base and was held up only by power lines. The motorist, a 27-year-old Glendora man, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, and his vehicle, a white Volkswagen Jetta, was towed after sustaining significant damage to the passenger-side front end.
Police Chief Brian Solinsky said it was unclear how fast the man was driving. Forensic investigators typically determine approximate a vehicle’s speed leading up to a collision once charges are filed.
“He was definitely moving,” Solinsky said this week. “It’s hard to guess, but it was certainly not 25” — the posted speed limit there.
The collision led to a loss of power for 372 homes in the vicinity, with repair crews from Southern California Edison responding to the incident. Given the especially risky scenario — should the wires have broken, not only would the pole have fallen, but live wires would have been strewn about — police officers blocked off Fremont between Buena Vista and Columbia streets.
“You’ve got all that weight hanging, but at any point, if the tension gets too great, the pole would snap [free] and you’d have all these live wires,” Solinsky said. “That creates a whole other issue.”
Edison’s work was not simple. Workers had to disconnect power from the damaged lines, remove the broken pole entirely, install a new one, reconnect the lines and test them. The power outage lasted well into Friday afternoon.
“They were able to get trucks out there pretty quickly,” Solinsky added. “Unfortunately, it just takes a long time to replace that pole. It’s a pretty big operation.”
No pedestrians or other motorists were involved in the collision, which, given the hour, was not a surprise to Solinsky .
“During the day, a lot of people use Fremont to run or exercise on,” he said, sounding relieved that the accident didn’t occur then.