A driver’s momentary distraction set off a chain reaction of unintended consequences near Arnold Drive in Martinez Friday: her car toppling power poles – the downed power lines touching off two small grass fires that blacked out dozens of nearby homes.
Police and firefighters responded to 1340 Arnold Drive at 11:53 a.m. Friday in response to a call of a car into a power pole and live wires down and sparking on the ground.
The woman driving the car told police she took her eyes off the road for a second and plowed into three poles – shearing one and tilting two others.
About 1,500 people living in the area lost power, with PG&E crews restoring power to homes through the course of the afternoon. Arnold Drive was closed in both directions while the utility crews worked.
The driver complained of pain but declined a trip to the hospital. Police said it did not appear that alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash.