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Truck driver trapped by electric wires after knocking over power pole


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SALT LAKE CITY -- The driver of a delivery truck was trapped in his vehicle after it slid into a power pole, knocking it onto the truck. Police are investigating whether a winter-like storm that blew into the Wasatch Front overnight was a factor in the crash.

The driver says he lost control on a slushy road at 2600 East and Bengal Boulevard around 7:10 a.m. He says electricity from the live power line arced over his vehicle as he was trapped inside for about 30 minutes.

The driver says the inside of the truck was buzzing and glowing and he tells KSL Newsradio he didn't think he was going to get out alive.

After calling police for help, the driver then called his parents to let them know he had been in a crash. Jane Conway answered the phone and, at first, didn't realize her son was trapped by electricity.

"I asked if he was OK and you could hear the arcing of the power lines. I couldn't quite tell what it was at first, but then he explained he had hit a power line and he wasn't allowed to get out," said Conway.

She described the arcing sound as a very loud buzzing noise. "It electrified his voice for sure. You could just hear the tension in his voice. About every 15 seconds or so you would hear an arc and then his voice would get a little higher pitch than normal, but he remained calm," said Conway.

The toppled power poll caused a chain reaction of power lines to fall further down the street. Some of those lines came off and landed on top of an ambulance that had responded. The lines momentarily trapped the rescue workers inside until the power was shut off.

No one was injured from the power lines or from the crash. Cottonwood Heights police Sgt. Mark Askerlund says they were glad there were not any school kids in the area, considering the road is heavily traveled in the morning by kids heading to Brighton High, and Butler Middle School. There is also an elementary school further East on Bengal Boulevard.

Rocky Mountain Power crews turned off power to the pole and about 2,000 customers in the surrounding areas so crews could get the driver out of the truck.

E-mail: rjeppesen@ksl.com


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Randall Jeppesen

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