Dozer breaks pole, lights go out, truck gets hung on wires, sparks fly

Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Tribune photo by Jim Ward A bulldozer broke a power pole Monday morning and soon thereafter a contract mail delivery truck driver tried to leave the Post Office lot to East Commerce Street but the top of the truck caught on telephone lines, thereby aggravating the situation.

From staff reports

Electrical sparks were flying everywhere Monday morning at the Lewisburg Post Office driveway exit lane after a bulldozer broke a power pole, lowering utility lines that then snagged a truck leaving the Post Office.

"Two witnesses, one at the Post Office and one at the back door of the Goodwill, saw what happened," Lewisburg Electric System General Manager Richard Turner said of what he called a "very hazardous" situation that developed at about 8:45 a.m. Monday.

"Both saw a dozer hit the LES wood pole and broke the top out of it," Turner said. "They'd already dug out around the pole.

"That's when the lights went out," the LES general manager said.

Ken's Gun shop, the Post Office and other buildings were without power.

Power outages extended west to Andy's Tire, according to Vicki Holt, business manager at the 355 East Commerce St. business.

Michael Armstrong of L&C Deliveries of Nashville drove the International truck that got caught by the wires. L&C owner Anthony Garrett said Armstrong finished making his delivery to the Post Office "and as he came back through, the top of his truck got caught on the wires and all of a sudden he saw the lines come down and he called 911."

Turner said he felt the driver was "innocent" of wrongdoing.

"There was fire flying everywhere," the electric system manager reported. There were 13,000 volts on the line there where the wires were hitting each other "quite like that" of the Fourth of July.

"If somebody had been walking under there they could have been killed," he said.

The Goodwill, Lewisburg Jewelry and the Post Office were the last three LES customers to have power restored.

Highways Inc., a construction business with several offices, is the contractor hired by the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Bill Hardison is the company's safety officer based at Brentwood.

The wooden power pole was going to be replaced with steel pole because of the widening project, Turner said.

Deanna Lambert, a TDOT spokeswoman, said the $11.4 million project to widen South Ellington Parkway between Commerce Street and Spring Place Road started in December 2010. It's to be done by November this year. The project includes modifications to the intersection with Commerce Street, also known as Fayetteville Highway further east.

"Highways Inc. is the contractor on this project and they are ultimately responsible for all work on the site," Lambert said.