WILLMAR -- More than 800 customers lost power for about 90 minutes Tuesday morning after a car struck and broke a mainline power pole near the American Legion on 19th Avenue Southwest.
Willmar Utilities General Manager Wesley Hompe said the car hit the pole at 12:43 a.m. The pole is part of the main feeder line that serves portions of the Kandi Mall and the Skylark Center and First Street and residential areas west of Skylark and north of 19th Avenue.
Hompe said 884 customers were without power until approximately 2:15 a.m. Hompe said it took two full line crews about 1½ hours to clear the damage and make the system safe for re-energizing the line.
"Because Willmar Municipal Utilities did not want our customers to experience any additional outages related to this accident, WMU repaired the system in an energized state,'' said Hompe. "Consequently, it took those same two crews most of Tuesday to safely replace the broken pole and fully repair the extensive damage to the system.''
Hompe congratulated the line crews for repairing so much damage so quickly "and above all, safely, while keeping our customers' outage time to the absolute minimum.''
Willmar police cited Filsan A. Mohamed, 28, of Willmar, for careless driving and instructional permit violation. He was taken by Willmar Ambulance to Rice Memorial Hospital with possible injuries.
Police said Mohamed was driving a 1993 Toyota eastbound on 19th Avenue, attempting to turn and go north on Fifth Street Southwest. Police said he hit the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal and accelerated.
The car traveled for 163.5 feet, striking the power pole, utility box and handicapped sign before striking a concrete pole near the Legion.
--Tribune staff writer Gretchen Schlosser contributed
to this report.