Hit-and-run driver takes out power pole, almost starts house fire, leaves entire neighborhood in the dark

Posted at 5:22 AM, May 28, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-28 05:22:04-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Police have cited an alleged hit-and-run driver for multiple infractions, accused of smashing into a power pole early Thursday morning — an incident that would end up having a fairly significant impact on an entire neighborhood.

This all happened shortly before 2:30 a.m. on Collins SE near Burton, when crews got the call for a possible house fire.  As firefighters were arriving, they noticed smoke coming from the back of the home, but no flames.  As they got closer, they came upon a downed power pole with live wires posing a threat.  That’s when the investigation took a different turn, and it was determined that someone had smashed into the pole and took off.

The initial incident caused a back-flow of electricity, so much that there was an overload at the house, scorching part of the property and causing the initial concern for a fire.  The damage to the lines was extensive, and Consumers Energy had to cut power to the entire street of Collins SE while they put in replacements.

As another effect of the hit-and-run crash, Burton was shut down in both directions from Collins to LaFayette for several hours.

van involved in crashDuring the investigation, officers located the vehicle they believed was involved in the initial crash:  a white van abandoned not far from the crash scene.  The van, which belongs to a local cleaning company, had heavy front-end damage and a destroyed driver’s side front tire.  Police would later catch up with the suspected driver, who was ticketed for multiple offenses.

There were no injuries reported.