Crash cuts power to Chapel Hill homes, businesses

Dec. 29, 2013 @ 07:16 PM

A driver police said was drunk crashed into “multiple” utility poles early Sunday, cutting power to homes and businesses, Chapel Hill police said.

The crash happened about 4:30 a.m. at Legion and Ephesus Church roads, disrupting electrical power, phones, cable and Internet services.
Traffic lights at the intersection of Sage Road, Old Durham Road/Old Chapel Hill Road, Scarlet Drive and U.S. 15-501/Fordham Boulevard failed after the crash, but police said all traffic signals were working by late afternoon.
The driver, who was uninjured, was arrested and faces a charge of driving while impaired “based on evidence gathered during the crash investigation,” according to a police news release.
Police had not released the driver’s identity by late Sunday afternoon. An Orange County magistrate said he had no information about the driver, and an Orange County Jail  spokesman said the driver had not been brought to the jail by late in the day.
The crash damaged the utility’s distribution network in the area, including service poles, service lines, power transformers and other equipment, the police release said.
Initial estimates were that it would take at least 12 hours for power to be fully restored.
Lt. Chuck Quinlan, watch commander at the Chapel Hill Police Department, said a Food Lion on Fordham Boulevard was still without power late Sunday afternoon but that all traffic lights were working.
Officials at Pike Electric, the contractor doing the repairs, told police that residents and businesses in the affected area would be without power until 9 p.m. Sunday. The company said it would have to shut down all power for an hour to get everything “up and running” and that it might be midnight before power was fully restored.
The crash closed Legion Road from the 1700 block to Ephesus Church Road for hours.