TIVERTON — Hesitant to cross small Seapowet Bridge with a rig of his size and weight, the driver of an 18-wheeler decided to back up and take another route instead last Wednesday, Jan. 15
That went badly for truck, driver and some nearby electric poles.
“The driver said later that he was worried that his truck might be too heavy for that bridge,” Tiverton Police Capt. Pat Jones said. “So he tried to do back up and do a three point turn at the corner of Seapowet (Ave.) and Neck Road.
As driver Chase Hubbard, 54, of South Beloit, Illinois, attempted the maneuver, his truck took out two poles and the live wires fell across the cap and trailer.
At 11:36 a.m., Mr. Hubbard called police and spoke to Tiverton dispatcher Lisa Leonardo.
“She did a great job talking him through it,” Capt. Jones said, telling him to “stay right where he was inside the truck.”
Had he tried to get out, he might well have been killed, Capt. Jones said. Rescuers reported that the power from the lines crystallized the sand and gravel where they touched the ground. Other witnesses said the wires ignited small fires in the damp grass.
National Grid trucks were called in to extricate the driver and then to restore power to the neighborhood.
Forty-five minutes later they had cut off power and helped Mr. Hubbard to safety. He was not injured. Electrical service was restored a bit later and replacement of the snapped poles was complete by about 5 p.m.