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When a pickup ran off NW 10th Street in Ava last Saturday morning and hit a utility pole, it caused a chain reaction of problems for emergency responders and utilities workers.
The incident occurred around 11:20 a.m. when a 1985 Chevrolet pickup driven by Kurdt W. Foy, 16, of Ava, hit the pole just south of NW 12th Ave. (Highway 14-Bus. Rte. 5), adjacent to Taco Bell.
The pole was snapped by the impact, causing the overhead lines to come down, resulting in a grass fire where the lines hit the ground.
The impact also sent an electrical surge through the lines that created a separate grass fire along NW 12th Ave. on the old drive-in theater property.
The fires were quickly extinguished, but the downed power pole shut down electrical service for a large section on the city’s west side, including the stop lights at the intersection of Highways 5 and 14.
The Ava Electric Department was able to disconnect the lines from the broken pole and isolate that damage, and power was restored to most of the city within a relatively short time frame.
The broken pole served the underground service lines to the Taco Bell restaurant, however, and that business was completely in the dark until new underground wiring could be run.
The Ava Electric Department worked until dark Saturday, setting a new power pole, and resumed work early Sunday morning to have all electrical service restored before noon Sunday.
In the meantime, the driver of the truck, as well as a passenger, Tristan Rehm, 16, were taken to a Springfield hospital by ambulance following the wreck Saturday morning.
Their injuries were believed to be minor to moderate.
Ava Police Officer Brenda Dinwiddie cited Foy with careless and imprudent driving.
In addition to putting out the grass fires that resulted from the downed power lines, the Ava Fire Department checked out reports of balls of fire, explosions and the smell of smoke resulting from the electrical surge created when the lines went down.
The Missouri Highway Patrol assisted traffic at the intersection of Highways 5 and 14 where the stop lights were out, and MoDOT personnel were also called out to assist at the same intersection during the power outage.