Crash knocks out power in Chapel Hill

Suspected drunk driver knocks out electricity and other utilities
December 30, 2013 10:45:58 AM PST
Many Chapel Hill residents and businesses were in the dark for hours Sunday after a crash knocked down power lines.

It happened early Sunday morning in the area of Legion Road and Ephesus Church Road. Police said the driver was uninjured in the crash and was arrested for allegedly driving while impaired.

Various utility services in the area were disrupted by the damage, including power, phone, cable, and internet services.

At one Chapel Hill motel, guests woke up in the dark.

"It's not like home, where things are organized and you could find them. So you have to feel around, half blind," complained one guest to ABC11.

Businesses like Dr. Wally Diehl's animal hospital lost power, but he said his first concern was not about himself.

"For the person that was in the accident, honestly. That was my main concern, that everybody's okay," Diehl said.

"We have flashlights. The dogs are getting plenty of exercise. The cats are fine. So, everything is going just great," he added.

Still, the loss of electricity caused bigger problems for others. The outage meant hours of uncertainty for a homeowner who told ABC11 she lost her package of internet, cable, and home phone service.

Additionally, eight workers in one supermarket closed for hours and moved perishables to a cold truck parked out back.

"We got it done, organized, so that when the power comes back on, we can just take our baskets out of the refrigerated trucks," said supermarket worker Ginger Watchempino.

Authorities say all power was restored around 8:20 p.m. Sunday.

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