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South Passaic Daily Voice serves Clifton, Haledon, Hawthorne, Little Falls, North Haledon, Passaic, Paterson, Prospect Park, Totowa, Wayne & Woodland Park

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Toms River PD: Mass Power Outage Was Caused By DUI Driver Who Downed Pole Igniting Brush Fire

A 47-year-old drunken driver is facing multiple charges for a crash that downed a utility pole, started a brush fire and caused a power massive power outage over the weekend in Toms River, authorities said.
A 47-year-old drunken driver is facing multiple charges for a crash that downed a utility pole, started a brush fire and caused a power massive power outage over the weekend in Toms River, authorities said. Photo Credit: Dan Nardini via Toms River Police

A 47-year-old drunken driver is facing multiple charges for a crash that downed a utility pole, started a brush fire and caused a power massive power outage over the weekend in Toms River, authorities said.

Wilfredo Flores was negotiating a curve when he answered a call on his cell phone, swerved off the roadway to the right and hit a curb at Bay Avenue and Tanglewood Road around 8 p.m. Jan. 17, Toms River police said.

The impact split the pole in half and subsequently damaged a second pole due to excessive wire tension, police said.

Flores fled eastbound but was soon stopped by a concerned citizen, Toms River police said.

Several neighborhoods on the east side of town were without power overnight while Verizon and JCP&L worked to repair the damaged poles, according to police. 

The downed poles ignited two brush fires that were quickly extinguished by Toms River Fire Companies 1 and 2. 

Traffic lights were out between Vaughn Avenue and Indian Hill, along Bay Avenue as a result of the accident.

Flores was charged with DUI, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to report an accident, unregistered vehicle, and was served a cell phone violation, police said.

The vehicle was impounded as per John’s Law and the crash accident is being investigated by Toms River Traffic Safety Officer Robert Westfall.

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