A 19-year-old Long Valley man was arrested for driving while intoxicated after crashing his car into a utility pole on Schooley’s Mountain Road Sunday morning, knocking out power to hundreds of homes in Washington Township, police said.
At 11 a.m. Officers Kirk Griffin and Kevin Barnes came upon an accident that just occurred south of Schooley’s Mountain Road intersection with Pleasant Grove Road, Lt. Mark Niemynski said. It was learned that a 2014 Range Rover was traveling at a high rate of speed heading southbound and failed to make the left bend near the intersection, Niemynski said.
As a result, the vehicle, driven by Michael Deehan, 19, left its lane of travel and went up onto an embankment, Niemynski said. The SUV struck several road signs before striking a tree, and then a telephone pole, breaking the pole and causing it to fall onto the vehicle, Niemynski said.
When the officers arrived on scene, the wires were still live and “arcing to the vehicle,” Niemynski said, causing the vehicle to burn. The passenger, who was not named by police, was able to jump from the vehicle, but Deehan remained inside, Niemynski said.
The burning then subsided and the power company responded to ensure the wires were turned off prior to the emergency personnel removing Deehan from the vehicle, Niemynski said. Both Deehan and the passenger were checked by the Long Valley First Aid Squad and released.
Because of the downed wires and snapped utility pole, some 1,700 residences were out of power at the same time, according to Jersey Central Power & Light. Schooley's Mountain Fire Company also assisted at the scene.
Deehan was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated and being underage, refusal to submit to a breath test, reckless driving, failure to maintain lane, careless driving, and was also charged with being in possession of a driver’s license belonging to another individual that could be used to falsely verify a person’s age.
Deehan was released to a family member pending a court date. The vehicle was totaled and impounded at the Washington Township impound lot.
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