Driver charged after crashing, knocking out power in south Charlotte

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Driver charged after crashing, knocking out power in south Charlotte


by BORA KIM / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @BoraKimWCNC

Posted on May 27, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Updated Monday, Dec 2 at 2:25 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The driver that caused some 5,000 Duke Energy customers to loose power has been cited for driving while under the influence, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.

He was driving a pick-up truck, traveling South on Park Road when he lost control and ran into a utility pole on Park Road and Hillside Avenue.

It happened around 9:30am.

Noah Coursiere was on his way to breakfast when he noticed the driver was in trouble. He says he grabbed his putter prepared to break into driver's side glass, but pulled him out through the passenger window instead.

"Thank God we did pull up when we did because about 30 seconds after, we pulled him from the car, the car burst into flames," said Coursiere.

The impact of the crash clipped one of the double circuit poles, but crews had to shut down the other to restore power.

"Real dangerous situation. We probably have about 300 feet of wire on the ground, each way of the pole," said Steve Parker, Supervisor for Duke Energy.

Crews eventually restored power around 6:05pm to the 3,500 customers on the main line, eight hours after the crash.

Jon Nardone, who lives nearby, heard the crash.  He said he didn't need to look outside to know that someone had crashed into a power pole.

He says, this was the worse he's seen.

"The power poles are so close to the road, if you make one false move, that power pole could go down. The best thing to do is pay attention on Park Road, try not to go, 45-mph, that's what everybody does," said Nardone.
For several hours, the power outrage disrupted businesses at Park Road Shopping Center.

"We had this huge Memorial Day Sale going on," said Robbie Robinson, with Blackhawk Hardware.

"First the lights went dim, and came back up again. Ten minutes later, everything just went black.  It was tremendous. This is like a big black hole until we got the generator going," he said.

Robinson said, customers still had to be turned away, for fear of their safety.

Eventually, they were able to do light transactions, until powers came back on around 2:00 p.m. to most businesses in the strip mall.

"We had the computer blink once and the power went and that was it," said Julie Howren, of Howren's Music & Sound, located several doors down.

She had hoped to show off the newly painted store on Memorial Day.  Business did go on, only using paper receipts.

Owner Dennis, made sure, his employees made the most of a 'dark": situation.

 "It's kinda of tough, there is a lot of stuff you can't do, computer stuff, but we can't see, so we are staying by the front window, practicing the ukulele with David," he said.

Customers were greeted by the sounds of the ukulele, as a way to promote the in-store special.

"We are not going to turn anyone away, if they want to come, they can come play ukulele with us," said Julie Howren.