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Sunday, February 17 , 2019, 5:08 am | Mostly Cloudy 47º


Distracted Driver Crashes Into Pole, Knocking Out Power in Mission Canyon Area

Santa Barbara woman tells police she was changing a song on her phone when she ran off the road

A distracted driver veered off the road near the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History on Tuesday night and knocked down a power pole, according to Santa Barbara police.

A 27-year-old Santa Barbara woman was driving a 2002 Volvo westbound on Mission Canyon Road and ran off the road on the 600 block, near the curves at Puesta Del Sol, at 11:13 p.m., Lt. Paul McCaffrey said.

The driver, who has not been identified, told police she had been distracted by changing a song on her phone, McCaffrey said. She suffered only minor injuries, an abrasion to her left arm, and was treated at the scene.

The Southern California Edison pole snapped at the base and fell on top of the car, so SCE crews responded to the scene to supervise moving the pole and power lines, McCaffrey said. 

The Volvo was totaled with major front-end damage and was towed from the scene.

The driver didn’t appear to be under the influence of any substance but was cited for making an unsafe turn, not having proof of insurance and having a suspended license, police said.

“Of course it attracted a crowd of residents who came out to see what happened,” McCaffrey said. “Let that be a warning to people who can be a distracted driver — you can run into a power pole with enough force to break it off.”

Administratively suspended licenses are becoming more common, often because people fail to pay their fix-it tickets, cell phone violations or other minor violations. In many cases, the DMV starts a warrant process for failure to appear and can suspend the license — which causes police to impound the car if the driver is stopped, McCaffrey noted.

Edison is still working to get power back to about 35 customers in the area. Power was expected to be restored by 10:30 a.m. but that timeline was pushed, SCE spokeswoman Rondi Guthrie said. Crews have to completely replace the power pole, she noted. As of 1:30 p.m., crews didn't have the correctly-sized pole and hadn't restored any power. Some lines were expected to be fixed Thursday afternoon while the rest would take into Wednesday night. 

Mission Canyon Road is closed in both directions at the Santa Barbara County Rocky Nook Park, which has become a turnaround area for cars confronted with the road closure. 

The natural history museum is closed Wednesday due to the power outage, but the Sea Center on Stearns Wharf is open as usual, Easter Moorman said. Saturday’s Santa Barbara Wine Festival at the museum will go on as scheduled and they hope power will be restored in time to open on Thursday.

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Santa Barbara police say a distracted driver took out a power pole on Mission Canyon Road Tuesday night, cutting power to some customers in the area. (Urban Hikers photo)

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