Crash takes out 2 electrical boxes, leaves more than 350 customers without power

A single-vehicle crash damages two pad-mounted switchgear boxes on S. 3000 East early Thursday morning, St. George, Utah, Dec. 8, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Russell Condie, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A single-vehicle crash in the Little Valley area late Wednesday night destroyed two switchgear boxes so severely that crews worked into the early morning hours to replace the equipment and restore power to more than 350 customers.

Maroon 2001 Jeep Cherokee was involved in a single vehicle crash involving two electrical boxes that were replaced when more than 350 customers lost power early Thursday morning in St. George, Utah, Dec. 8, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Lona Trombley, St. George News
Maroon 2001 Jeep Cherokee is involved in a single-vehicle crash involving two electrical boxes that led to more than 350 customers without power early Thursday morning, St. George, Utah, Dec. 8, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Lona Trombley, St. George News

Just before midnight, officers and emergency personnel responded to a crash involving a 2001 maroon Jeep Grand Cherokee and severely damaged electrical equipment in the area of 3150 S. 3000 East in St. George.

As officers responded, they found the Jeep on the right side of the roadway and two pad-mounted switchgear boxes severely damaged nearby, St. George Police public information officer Lona Trombley said.

The 28-year-old driver told officers he was heading south on S. 3000 East, and as he approached the corner of 3150 South Street, a dog ran out in front of his vehicle. The man swerved sharply to the right in an attempt to avoid hitting the animal, officers said, and struck the two switchgear boxes that were sitting side by side on the west side of the road.

Once St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker arrived, he immediately contacted Dixie Power to report the damage, and a repair crew was dispatched to the location, Dixie Power staff engineer Russell Condie said.

Dixie Power emergency repair crews assessing damage early Thursday morning after Single vehicle crash damages two pad mounted switch gear boxes on S. 3000 East in St. George, Utah, Dec. 8, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Russell Condie, St. George News
Dixie Power emergency repair crews assess damage early Thursday morning after a single-vehicle crash damaged two pad-mounted switchgear boxes on S. 3000 East, St. George, Utah, Dec. 8, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Russell Condie, St. George News

EMS also responded and checked the man for injuries, Trombley said; however, the driver reported no serious injuries and declined transport to the hospital.

The man was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash and was not cited by the officer, she said.

Extensive damage was reported to the mounted switchgear boxes during the crash. The force of the impact lifted the boxes off of their concrete foundation and moved the first box approximately 7 feet, while the second box was moved approximately 3 feet, Condie said.

“These boxes are about 5-feet high and 5-feet across, so it took some force to move them that far, not to mention to completely lift them off of the foundation,” Condie said.

Approximately 356 Dixie Power members lost power immediately after the crash. Crews responded and began working into the night to replace the damaged equipment with new boxes, continuing throughout the early morning hours.

Two new pad mounted switch gear boxes were installed as an emergency repair crew worked into the early morning hours Thursday after a single vehicle crash caused extensive damage on S. 3000 East in St. George, Utah, Dec. 8, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Russell Condie, St. George News
Two new pad-mounted switchgear boxes are installed as an emergency repair crew worked into the early morning hours Thursday after a single-vehicle crash caused extensive damage on S. 3000 East, St. George, Utah, Dec. 8, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Russell Condie, St. George News

Power was restore to more than 100 homes by 1 a.m., and then to all customers by 2:30 a.m., Condie said.

“The crews were back on site today to complete more permanent repairs, but the bulk of the work was done in the middle of the night to ensure that our customers had heat for their homes,” he said.

Each pad-mounted switchgear box comes at a cost of more than $20,000, Condie said, so without taking labor and other costs into account, a conservative estimate of the damage will exceed more than $40,000.

A switchgear includes a variety of switching devices housed in a steel box which are used to protect the power system from overloads and help to regulate, meter and control the power system, Condie said. The switchgear also regulates power as it moves from customer back to the power plant.

The St. George Police Department, St. George Fire Department, Gold Cross Ambulance and a Dixie Power emergency repair crew responded to the incident.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • .... December 9, 2016 at 12:06 am

    I’m sure the insurance company is looking forward to cost of these repairs. but I’m just glad no one was seriously injured. and they will be able to be home with their loved ones and enjoy the wonderful festivities of the holiday season at home

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