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Man drives vehicle into power pole

The Monday evening incident at the Long Meadow Shopping center marred what was otherwise an uneventful holiday weekend on the Tr

The Monday evening incident at the Long Meadow Shopping center marred what was otherwise an uneventful holiday weekend on the Tr

September 03, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

An allegedly drunken driver drove into a power pole at the Long Meadow Shopping Center Monday evening, knocking out power for about 1,200 Allegheny Energy customers and damaging traffic signals at the North Potomac Street and Eastern Boulevard intersection, Hagerstown Police Sgt. David Long said.

After hitting the pole about 5:30 p.m., the driver, Jefry Bohn, 46, of Hagerstown, drove through the shopping center parking lot twice, dragging part of the pole under his 1999 GMC truck, before attempting to flee the area, Long said.

Bohn was going south on Potomac Street when he hit the pole, which caused his car to spin around almost 360 degrees, Long said. He then drove from one end of the shopping center to the other before returning to the scene of the accident and then driving back through part of the shopping center and away, Long said.

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Bohn was followed by witnesses, who called the police on their cell phones, Long said. Bohn was stopped in the 1000 block of the Terrace.

Bohn was charged with driving while under the influence and hit-and-run, and was released, Long said.

Bohn said Monday night that he was returning from Waynesboro, Pa., when he hit the pole. He said he did not know what to do after hitting the pole, and his first thought was to go to his office to make a phone call to a friend or partner at work. He denied he was fleeing the scene.

By 9:30 p.m., power was restored to almost all of the 1,200 customers who lost power when the pole was hit, Allegheny Energy spokeswoman Tara Curtis said. Some were expected to be without power for an additional hour Monday night as power was transferred from one circuit to another, she said.

When the bottom half of the pole was broken off by the truck, it whipped the electric wires, causing the guidewires of the traffic signals at the intersection to snap, Long said.

Some of the signals, which were turned off, were upside-down and hanging lower than usual Monday night.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said the signal was expected to be repaired by late Monday.

Traffic was detoured through the shopping center parking lot and streets across from the shopping center.

The accident was a contrast to reports of smooth, mostly uneventful weekends elsewhere in the Tri-State area.

"We haven't had any problems," Corp. William Benson of the Pennsylvania State Police in Chambersburg said.

"It has been pretty quiet. Nothing major this weekend," Sgt. David Close of the Maryland State Police in Hagerstown said.

There were also no problems in the Martinsburg area, Sgt. M.A. Carte of the West Virginia State Police in Martinsburg said.

Representatives of other law enforcement agencies made similar reports.

AAA predicted 32.7 million travelers planned to take a trip of 50 miles or more from home this weekend, down slightly from the 33 million estimated to have traveled last year.

Carol Ecton, branch manager of the Hagerstown AAA office, attributed the slight decline to children in school and the shaky economy.

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