Montebello, CA : Driver rescued from electrified minivan after crashing into utility pole in Montebello on Thursday, January 22, 2015
Rescuers freed a 68-year-old man from his minivan Thursday after he became trapped by high-voltage power lines when his vehicle struck a utility pole, authorities said.
The incident, which began with the crash about 7 p.m. on Beverly Boulevard, just east of Poplar Avenue, resulted in no injuries, Montebello Fire Department Capt. Fernando Pelaez said. With 16,000-volt power lines sparking and arcing all over the crash scene, the situation could have been much worse, he said.
The solo-vehicle crash sent power lines down onto the street and over the minivan, the captain said.
Firefighters arrived on scene and warned passers-by to stay away from the lines, as well as metallic items such as fences and lampposts that were electrified by them.
They also told the driver of the minivan to stay inside until Southern California Edison officials could shut down the power, which took about 45 minutes, Pelaez said. Had he stepped out prior, “He definitely would have gotten electrocuted.”
The sheared power pole also supported an electrical transformer, officials said.
Rescuers tried to keep the driver calm until the power was ultimately cut off to the wires, officials said. Firefighters then managed to free him from the crashed minivan.
The driver, a doctor, did not appear injured and declined to be taken to a hospital, Pelaez said.
The intersection of Beverly Boulevard and Poplar Avenue was expected to remain closed into Friday morning as utility crews repaired the damage.
About 5,000 SCE customers initially lost power as a result of the crash, Montebello police Lt. Kelly Gordon said. By 10:45 p.m., about 500 SCE customer remained without electrical service.
No crime was initially suspected in connection with the crash, which was being investigated as an accident, Gordon said.
Driver rescued from electrified minivan after crashing into utility pole in Montebello