Woman walks away from crash after snapping power pole

A 42-year old woman took out a telephone pole near Range Road and Crow Street with her Ford Ranger in the early hours of Saturday morning.

A 42-year old woman took out a power pole near Range Road and Crow Street with her Ford Ranger in the early hours of Saturday morning before landing the pickup truck on its passenger side, leaned up against a second utility pole.

The clap of the pole snapping in two and crashing to the ground carried through residences in the nearby trailer parks, as power went out in those neighbourhoods.

The commotion caused a small gathering of night owls and light sleepers to brave the darkened streets and check out the scene.

The force of the impact on the wires also cracked a telephone pole on the opposite side of the street, and officials ushered the crowd away from that side of the road for fear that it would fall as well.

Police, paramedics and firefighters had arrived at the scene, lit by a powerful spotlight overhead.

But they could not immediately free the driver, still trapped in the truck, because of the exposed power lines strewn through the street, according to an RCMP press release.

Responders waited for technicians from ATCO Electric Yukon (formerly Yukon Electrical Company Ltd.) to arrive and clear the danger and declare the area safe.

Then members of the Whitehorse Fire Department set to work sawing the windshield from the truck and extracting the woman from the wreck.

They spoke to the driver as they worked, reassuring her that it would not be much longer.

The crash took place just after 2 a.m., and it was nearly 3 a.m. when the crews finally helped the woman step out of the mangled pickup.

With a paramedic on either arm, she opted not to take the stretcher and walked to the waiting ambulance, falling to her knees briefly before being helped back to her feet.

She was taken to Whitehorse General Hospital, treated for a cut to the head and released, according to a hospital spokesperson.

The accident occurred heading north on Range Road just past the Takhini Mobile Home Park, at the end of the new road construction.

At that point, the road turns to the left at the same time as it narrows from a wide street with a raised centre median and bike lanes to a two-lane corridor with soft shoulders.

There is a sign posted ahead of the turn indicating a speed limit decrease to 30 kilometres per hour and a warning of a winding road ahead.

Since the accident, two concrete barriers with reflective tape have been installed in front of the new hydro pole where the truck came off the road and hit it.

Brian Crist, the city’s director of operations, said that in cases like these, the city will always review whether the collision had something to with infrastructure or signage.

“Public safety is critically important and the city does have a traffic committee that’s set up and is always reviewing traffic safety issues. If this needs to be looked at, then it will be.”

There is a plan to extend the new, widened street further north towards Porter Creek, and when that happens will be determined by future budgets, he said.

“They’re just plans until they actually make it into a budget and there’s money to do the project.”

A public review of next year’s capital budget will take place in November or December, he said.

The power outage was contained to the Takhini Mobile Home Park, Northland Park, Mountain View Place and Mountain Air Estates, said ATCO Electric spokesperson Laura Carlson on Monday morning.

Crews worked through the night to repair the system.

“The pole was broken so we had to obviously replace the structure and do that in a safe manner related to the accident,” said Carlson.

Power was restored at 9:20 a.m. Saturday, she said.

NorthwesTel crews worked through the day Saturday to restore Internet service in the area.

They ran about 50 metres of underground fibre line to repair the break, said spokesperson Eric Clement.

The technicians reconnected the system at 10:53 p.m., he said.

RCMP continue to investigate the cause of the accident and cannot confirm at this time if speed, alcohol or drugs were a factor, said Const. Dean Hoogland Tuesday afternoon.

Hoogland did have some advice for others who might be involved in similar incidents in the future: “Whenever you’re involved in an incident where the electrical is involved, it’s always a good idea to remain in the vehicle instead of trying to escape it because chances of getting electrocuted are much greater if you hit the ground.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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