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Alleged drunk driver runs from police, damages property

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SPANISH FORK — A Santaquin man was arrested early Sunday morning after allegedly damaging a power pole and several vehicles while driving drunk.

Just after 3 a.m. Sunday, troopers with the highway patrol were alerted to a car driving erratically on northbound I-15, officials said. Witnesses said a white Ford truck had been repeatedly running off the right side of the road and alternating between fast and slow speeds.

According to officials, a witness who called in to report the erratic driving followed the truck off of I-15 and east toward Spanish Fork on state Route 164. The truck's driver appeared to realize he was being followed, officials said, and accelerated to 80 mph.

The witness lost sight of the truck but then reported a flash and sparks as the truck had evidently gone off the road and knocked down a power pole.

According to officials, the truck had passed through a fence at the Spanish Fork IFA and struck several vehicles. Troopers responded to the scene and located 20-year-old Tyler Kearl of Santaquin, who had received serious but not life-threatening injuries. Kearl was transported to the Mountain View Hospital and, upon release, was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence.

Four hours after the crash, Kearl was found to have a blood-alcohol content of 0.172, officials said. Investigators also said that the truck had traveled off the paved portion of the road for more than a quarter mile, crossed the highway and was launched 60 feet through the air when the driver hit a small rise on the shoulder.

Officials said the truck traveled through a wooden fence, broke off a power pole, pushed a one-ton IFA truck more than 20 feet and hit another three-quarter-ton IFA truck. Both IFA trucks were pushed into a 2-axle flatbed that slid approximately 8 feet as a result of the collision.

Skid marks on the highway show that the truck was traveling at a minimum speed of 45 mph when the driver re-entered the highway after traveling on the shoulder for one-quarter mile, officials said.

State Route 164 was closed for approximately two hours while the damaged power lines were re-secured, officials said.


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Benjamin Wood


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