JASPER COUNTY — The city of Rensselaer and surrounding communities were without power for more than two hours Tuesday morning after a car slammed into a utility pole on U.S. 231.
NIPSCO workers replaced the pole and restored power to most of its circuits Tuesday night.
“We finally got restored to normal power this morning at 6:30,” said Lenny Larson, who is the lead line foreman with Rensselaer’s electric department.
Reportedly, power was lost as far north as DeMotte and Roselawn and west as Thayer and Kentland. A total of 4,500 homes were without power on a miserably, humid day.
“It didn’t help with the heat and the load we were in,” said Larson, pointing to homeowners’ need to crank up their central air systems and air conditioners to combat the excessive heat.
The area was under a heat advisory at the time of the accident.
Jasper County REMC reported on its Facebook page that thousands of its customers went without power due to the accident. Power was restored for most homes early Tuesday afternoon.
The woman who hit the pole, Heather Snow, of Medaryville, was arrested Tuesday afternoon Jasper County Sheriff’s Department deputies. According to Chief Deputy Jason Wallace, the accident occurred near County Road 200 North and U.S. 231.
“We got a call of a vehicle driving recklessly then got a call back that the driver had hit a pole,” Wallace said. “She got out of her car with the power lines down, got back into her vehicle and drove to State Road 14, so she was obviously leaving the area.”
The pole sits on ground that slopes towards a corn field.
Snow was able to travel a couple of miles on SR 14 before her car died from the damage it sustained. Police responded to the scene minutes later and Snow was transported to an area hospital. She sustained no major injuries, Wallace added.
Snow faces a series of charges, including reckless driving; operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated; driving while suspended, with the suspension occurring within 10 years; resisting law enforcement; leaving the scene of a crash with property damage; and resisting law enforcement with the use of a vehicle.
“You know, a utility pole is about a foot-and-a-half round and the poles are spaced out about 200 feet from each other,” Larson said of the crash. “You have about 198 feet in between to miss a pole and somehow it still gets hit.”