Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Wreck Causes Blackout; Sunbeam Road Section Left with No Electricity

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Wreck Causes Blackout; Sunbeam Road Section Left with No Electricity

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan, Times-Union staff writer

Shane Miller and his co-workers at A Lock and Security stood outside their darkened shop at 5050 Sunbeam Road at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, staring at the Chevrolet Tahoe sports utility vehicle crushed against the power pole across the street.

Standing around was all they and many other business employees up and down the street could do.

The 3 a.m. accident that sent 57-year-old Garrett Gardner to the hospital also forced JEA to cut power to between 200 and 300 homes and businesses in the area so the wreck could be removed and the pole replaced.

Police also had to shut down a section of the normally busy four-lane road between Philips Highway and Old Kings Road South for about 12 hours as city utility crews hauled in heavy repair equipment.

With power to the pole shut down all morning, Miller just waited.

"It definitely affects us. We already had a customer come in, and we can't cut keys or anything," Miller said. "Our phones have backup power, and they last for an hour or two. After that, we have to forward them."

Next door, K&T Cleaners owner John Lao said there was nothing he or his employees could do, either.

"Customers come and they can't get any clothes," he said. "I can't do any work, and I had to send my employees home."

Police said Gardner was headed west on Sunbeam Road when he apparently fell asleep at the wheel. When the driver woke up, he saw he was drifting and over-corrected, slamming the gold sports utility vehicle into the base of a power pole in front of Celluland, 5055 Sunbeam Road, at an estimated 45 mph. The impact caused the top third of the pole to crack and dangle wires and insulators over the wreck and road, said police officer Rick Cosio.

"It caused the pole to almost fall down. It broke it in half," said Cosio. "They said the electricity was arcing from the truck to the pole."

The Mandarin man was taken to Shands Jacksonville with head and leg injuries, and was listed in fair condition. He was charged with careless driving, according to police.

Eight JEA trucks, including a huge crane and two other vehicles with new poles, were on the scene by 8 a. …

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