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Pa. man questioned on Hagerstown power outage

September 15, 2003|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

Pennsylvania State Police have questioned a man in connection with Saturday's hit-and-run accident that led to a lengthy power outage at a city shopping center, according to Hagerstown Police Department Sgt. David Long.

Police believe a Pennsylvania motorist, whose name was not released, likely was responsible for the power outage at the Centre at Hagerstown Saturday afternoon. A police spokesman said Saturday that investigators believe a red Ford Ranger pickup truck ran into a power interface located just beyond a parking space, causing the outage.

"Whoever hit it knew he hit it," Long said.

Long said troopers from the Chambersburg Pennsylvania State Police barrack questioned the unidentified motorist Sunday. The motorist denied any involvement in the hit-and-run, according to Long.

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Long said the man is not in custody and has not been charged.

A Pennsylvania State Police spokesman refused to comment on the investigation Sunday, saying it is a "Hagerstown case."

Retailers and eateries lost power at approximately 2:30 p.m. and had to turn away customers by the hundreds. Businesses including The Home Depot and Wal-Mart were partially operational during portions of the outage thanks to power provided by backup generators.

However, many businesses, including Wal-Mart, were forced to shut down after backup generator capabilities were expended, police said.

Hagerstown Police Department Sgt. John Murray likened the rush of motorists to leave the complex's parking lot to post-game traffic around a football stadium.

Power was restored to most businesses in the complex at approximately 5:30 p.m. However, some businesses, including MC&T Bank and KFC, the closest business to the damaged power grid box, were without power for several more hours, police said.

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