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A Hairy Pole

This is another “car hit pole” trouble call.  The weather was good, no wind, the call came early in the evening after dinner, before bedtime.

The street that this happened on is a busy one and it is mostly a straight line except for at one section it gently jogs over about 10 or 12 feet. You would hardly notice it when driving but the thing about it is, if you don’t make the jog and just kept driving straight you would center punch one of our poles and that is just what happened.

The driver of the car was an older gentleman with some medical issue that caused hm to have a seizure while he was driving. Unfortunately, he floored the accelerator during the seizure and was going very fast when he hit the pole.

When we got there, there were cops and firemen and the ambulance, that was just leaving. We learned that the man had died at the scene. The car had blown right through the 45-foot, class 4 pole taking a twelve-foot piece right out of the middle of the pole. The car was about a hundred yards past the pole. The top of the pole was still tied in and intact.  It was a three-phase Y construction, double arms framed with five foot seven crossarms. 4/0 copper (seven strand) is some tough stuff. The car was going so fast through there that it cleanly broke the pole butt off about a foot above ground level. The top was hanging by the wires and still hot…. No outage.

Our first mission was to get a digger truck out to get things ready for the new pole. Also, to round up enough guys to deliver and help set the new pole.

While loading the new pole at the warehouse, they didn’t extend the trailer out so there was about fifteen feet of pole hanging past the back of the trailer. This was many years ago and the only thing done to mark the end of the pole was to hang a red flag on it.

Sure enough, a lady and her passenger ran into it on the way out. The top of the pole went through the windshield, hitting the female passenger right in the head. The truck, pulling the trailer, was just starting to make a right turn, so the top was swinging by at the same time as the car . It came out of the car as they finished the turn. The guys in the truck didn’t feel it happen but they heard it. Needless to say, the pole delivery was delayed.  

At our end, we had grabbed the pole top, tagged out the field side phase, had the butt pulled and the hole dug. There was no outage, so we were just hanging out. When the pole finally got there, I went up in the bucket to help guide the top of the pole while setting it. As I’m hanging there, watching the top of the pole make its way up, I noticed something catching the light from below. As it got close enough I realized that it was blond hair from the lady in the car. Maybe a dozen strands eight- or ten-inches long waving in the breeze. I thought to myself, we just have to get through this night. The woman survived but that’s all I know.

That’s the end of the story. We all just wanted to get the hell out of there, so we just finished it up and went home.  But, I can still see that pole top, with the hair floating up to me, and remember that whole dreadful night. Replacing the broken pole had almost nothing to do with it.

Anonymous Muni man

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