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A pickup truck crashed into a large transmission line pole at N.W. 30th Street and Hudson Avenue Thursday around 9:00 p.m. radiating damage to a mile of poles along 30th.

The Paseo Business District and surrounding homes – 2,700 in all – went dark for over 12 hours and some for 15 according to OG&E, the public utility that provides power to Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City Police caught the driver not long after and booked him for driving under the influence (DUI).

Neighbors near the crash posted to Twitter very soon after with detailed descriptions of the driver.

Screenshot from Twitter. View @BrittniShull.

Driver caught

OKCPD Master Sergeant Gary Knight told Free Press the driver was caught in the neighborhood not far from the accident scene where he abandoned his truck and fled on foot.

Police arrested 19-year-old Isaias Santillan, thought to be the driver. He was booked into the Oklahoma County Jail for DUI according to Knight.

Repairs Friday

Friday morning Free Press interviewed OG&E crews involved in the repair and learned that when the truck hit the transmission line pole, the rigid porcelain insulators extending from the three-story steel pole completely broke.

power outage
Broken rigid porcelain insulators were being collected Friday morning as crews replaced them with polymer ones. This was the start of a second load said OG&E workers. (Brett Dickerson/Okla City Free Press)

The chain reaction of vibrations from the crash along the mile of transmission lines from Robinson to Western caused other porcelain insulators to break dropping the transmission lines onto traffic signals and neighborhood distribution lines below.

Crews said the older style of porcelain insulators were being replaced with much more durable polymer ones along the mile.

We counted 13 poles where the insulators were being replaced which accounted for the time taken to execute the repairs.

Transmission lines carry high-volage power from the power plant to neighborhood substations that then step down power sent out through distribution lines to homes.

The substation for the Paseo area is at N.W. 30th and N. Western Avenue fed by the transmission line that was affected.

Signals out

When the high-voltage transmission lines dropped, they were still live which damaged traffic signals and neighborhood power distribution lines below in some places along the mile.

power outage
Signals at Paseo and NW 30th St. were still out Friday afternoon because of electrical damage to the signal equipment. Power was restored to the businesses around 9:00 a.m. (Brett Dickerson/Okla City Free Press)

At 3:00 p.m. Friday City of Oklahoma City traffic signal maintenance crews were still repairing signal equipment at intersections between Robinson and Western. Temporary stop signs were in place.

Crews Free Press talked to in the field had no estimate of when the signal repair would be complete.

The numbers

Karen Kurtz with OG&E talked to Free Press Friday afternoon.

She said that in all, around 2,700 customers including businesses in the Paseo District were without power from 6:52 p.m. Thursday until Friday morning.

Kurtz said that all but nine customers received power back again Friday at 8:56 a.m. The nine then had started receiving power again around 11:00 a.m.

Update, 12-29-2019, 11:24 a.m. – Free Press has received some comments from the neighborhood after this report was published that raise questions about the accuracy of OG&E’s reports of times when power was restored.


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Update, 9:39 a.m., 1-11-20. Gary Knight is a master sergeant in the Oklahoma City Police Department. In our original version of this story, we misidentified him as a staff sergeant. We are sorry for the error.