By Ralph Echtinaw
St. Louis residents were left without electricity for four and a half hours Saturday morning after a car struck a utility pole near the middle school.
The driver of an Infiniti EX35 was southbound on Union Street at 4:30 a.m. and missed the 90 degree turn where Union Street becomes River Court. The car jumped the curb and slammed into a Consumers Power utility pole adjacent to the high school football field. There were no skid marks on the pavement that would indicate braking, and tire tracks were visible in the grass leading up to the pole.
A police officer responded at 4:36 a.m. and arrested the driver, a St. Louis resident, who was uninjured and taken to the Gratiot County Jail.
“The first member of the electric line crew was on site by around 4:40,” said City Manager Kurt Giles via email. “We also had water/wastewater staff on site and public works setting up street closure signage shortly thereafter.”
Giles explains what was done to restore electricity: “Our crew took the city-owned primary distribution lines and street lamp off the damaged pole so the Consumers Energy contractor could replace the pole and re-install the 46-kilovolt lines. The portion including the damaged pole and downed lines was isolated by opening switches so the two St. Louis substations could go back into service during repairs.”
Two men who live near the accident scene told this reporter that they’ve seen similar accidents or close calls on the same corner where the sudden turn can take drivers by surprise.