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News, Malibu, Santa Monica

Malibu Power Outage After Possible Drunken Driver Takes Down Power Pole

Posted Aug. 16, 2014, 4:35 pm

Staff Report

Power went out in much of Malibu today when a car, possibly driven by a drunken driver, took down a power pole in Malibu Canyon.

Electrical service to Malibu was restored after at least three hours, at 10:58 a.m. But the main road between Calabasas and Malibu was to remain closed into the night, as Southern California Edison crews worked to make permanent repairs, sheriff's deputies said.

L.A. County firefighters said they stationed a paramedic helicopter near Malibu today in case it was needed to ferry patients around the blocked road, one of four major routes into and out of the beachside city.

Deputies posted a photo of a small white car, with a crumpled front end and a severed wooden pole where the hood ornament should be. The CHP was handling the investigation, and could not verify initial reports from the county that the car had been driven by a drunken person.

The early-morning single-vehicle crash took down a wooden power pole carrying a 66,000-volt feeder circuit that supplies much of Malibu with its primary electric supply. The pole also carries optic lines for five wireless companies, according to state records.

There were conflicting reports about the time of the mishap, with lights going out in Malibu at about 6:45 a.m. and sheriff's dispatchers reporting the crash was at 7:30.

The sheriff's Malibu/Lost Hills station expected the closure to put a strain on other routes to the beach on a hot weekend day, deputies said. Some traffic lanes remain closed for long-term construction projects on Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica, and Kanan-Dume Road north of Malibu.

A power company spokesman said 3,363 customer accounts were initially the dark. Paul Netter, a Southern California Edison spokesman, said  switching of remaining circuits allowed electric service to be restored at all but 442 accounts as of 8:22 a.m., and they got juice just before 11.

No one was injured in the crash, which took place on narrow and twisting Malibu Canyon Road about two miles up the canyon from Malibu, a sheriff's dispatcher said.

Some signals went out on PCH, as far east as the Getty Villa Museum. Others functioned normally.

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