Late night driver takes out Route 103 pole, power

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Just before 3 a.m. on Monday morning, Chester Police, Fire and Ambulance were called for a crash that sheered off a utility pole along Rt. 103 south bringing down wires and stopping traffic. But when they arrived, they found an empty car.

The car as police and firefighters found it. Photos by Claudio Veliz

According to a CPD press release, Leonard Wheeler, 34, had been driving the 2015 Toyota Highlander south when the car left the road and hit the pole. Wheeler left the scene to go to the Springfield Hospital Emergency Department for treatment of minor injuries.

Police interviewed Wheeler at the hospital, determining that he was impaired. Wheeler consented to give a blood sample, which was sent to the Vermont Forensic Laboratory for analysis. Citations are pending the results of the tests.

Meanwhile back at the crash, Chester Firefighters were setting up roadblocks at the bridge near the Sunoco Gas Station and in front of the Chester-Andover Family Center.  They helped three tractor-trailers turn around and head back south on Route 103 since they could not pass through the crash scene because of the wires. They also ordered a “road closed” sign package from the Agency of Transportation. And then they waited for a crew from Green Mountain Power.

A Green Mountain Power crew begins work on replacing the downed pole

As GMP began replacing the pole, 49 customers lost power at 4:32 a.m. according to the utility’s communications office.  Then, while the pole was being replaced, the crews had to shut off power to 1,370 customers for safety. That shutdown lasted 27 minutes and by 8:30 a.m. power was back up.

Fire crews returned to the station around 5 a.m.

The crash is being investigated and anyone with information is asked to contact the Chester Police Department at 802-875-2035.

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