Student knocks out power

Published 10:09 pm Saturday, January 10, 2009

Early last week a juvenile on her way to school collided with a concrete power pole, knocking out power to the McNeill and Carriere area for five hours.

That power outage also affected all of the Pearl River County School District, leaving students without power while they attended classes.

The accident took place Monday morning at about 7:45 as a 16 year-old female was traveling east on George Ford Road in a red 1999 Ford F-150, said Capt. Kelvin Stanford with the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Dept. Stanford would not release the name of the driver of the vehicle since she is a minor.

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As the vehicle was heading east on Gorge Ford Road towards U.S. 11 Stanford said the vehicle left the roadway on the right hand side and impacted a utility pole. The juvenile told law enforcement officials that she was traveling at 45 miles per hour at the time of the accident, Stanford said. She was transported to Slidell Memorial Hospital for treatment of moderate injuries listed as non-life threatening.

Conditions that may have contributed to the accident included wet roads and fog. Stanford said her speed was too fast for those conditions. While she was not ejected from the truck, she did have to be extricated from the damaged vehicle.

Power was knocked out to the Carriere and McNeill areas for about five hours after the accident, said Mississippi Power Company Spokesman Cindy Duvall. About 2,000 customers were affected by the outage including all the elementary, high school and middle schools in the Pearl River County district. Duvall said the juvenile’s vehicle struck a concrete pole outside the Carriere substation, breaking the fiberglass arms on the pole, bringing that phase down for the five hour time frame.

Pearl River County School District Superintendent Dennis Penton said the juvenile is a student in the district and was on her way to school at the time of the accident. Students were kept at school because school had already started and the power company had informed him that the power would only be out for a short while.

“When they tell you it will be 45 minutes, that’s not that bad,” Penton said.

Penton said Mississippi Power kept the district up to date on time frames, but those time frames were consistently pushed back due to the nature of the damage.

“We anticipated a two-hour outage that turned into a five-hour outage,” Penton said. “On the other hand, we would have been sending students home to homes with no power,” Penton said.”

Instruction continued at the school that day and an alternate meal was served to students that still met the nutritional guidelines, Penton said.

Alcohol or drugs are not suspected to be involved in the accident, Stanford said.