Crash causes power outage in Grand Haven Township

(UPDATED: 11:45 p.m. Saturday) Some 2,000 residences and businesses remained without power late Saturday night after a car crashed into a power pole on Mercury Drive east of Bignell Street.
Becky Vargo
Aug 30, 2014


Three teenagers were trapped inside the car when the utility pole snapped in two and fell on top of the vehicle. They remained inside for more than an hour before power company officials confirmed no power was circulating through the wires draped across the Jeep Cherokee.

A 17-year-old boy, a 17-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy, all from Grand Haven, escaped serious injury in the crash.

The girl suffered a leg injury and was transported by ambulance to North Ottawa Community Hospital, officials said.

The driver of the car, Adam Penland, suffered a foot injury, was checked by paramedics at the scene and left with his parents.

The 15-year-old boy was not injured.

Emergency personnel and a crew from the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power responded to the one-car crash shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday. 

"I heard the first smack and then the big boom," said Matt Chasco who lives two houses away from the crash.

Chasco said he and another neighbor, Mark Slachter, ran down to the wreck, but quickly realized there were downed power lines.

"The kids were trying to get out and we yelled at them to get back in," Chasco said.

Slachter, who has lived at the intersection for 17 years, said speed has always been a problem on the curve. People pick up speed as they come around the curve and go down the hill to the Millhouse Bayou Bridge, he said.

The speed limit in the area is 45 mph.

Officials confirmed that the vehicle was eastbound on Mercury, went off the road, struck the utility pole and landed between the guardrail and the bike path, just before the bridge.

The large trunk of the pole rested on top of the Jeep. The crossbars and wires littered the road.

Grand Haven Township firefighters and Ottawa County Sheriff's deputies kept the crowd back until the teenagers were safe and the power lines were determined not to be active.

The crowd continued to grow as area residents wandered down the street to find out why they no longer had power.

The Mercury Drive corridor from 144th Avenue all the way into Grand Haven remained dark for several hours. The outage includes the River Haven Mobile Home Park and the nearby Wesco gas station.

Brenda Penland said her son called her from the car and they kept in communication while he remained trapped inside.

The three families rushed to embrace their children, as they made their way to the ambulance.

Mercury Drive between Groesbeck Street and 148th Avenue is currently blocked off. 

Officials expected the road to remain blocked for several more hours for the installation of a new pole and connection of power and cable television lines.

This story will be updated when more information becomes available.



Creed Bratton

How many passengers are allowed in the vehicle at this age?


I have lived on Bignell for 32 years and of course there have been many accidents over that time. That being said this is the 3rd car(not intoxicated) that has lost control on that curve and landed in that spot since the road was widened. Perhaps it is time for the road commission to take a closer look at that location/current speed limit. So glad this story has a happy ending.

deuce liti

The story certainly had an ending, but it wasn't a happy one.


I watched three children hug their parents after walking from a vehicle that was crushed by a broken telephone pole after a full speed crash. To me that is a happy ending.


Maybe children shouldn't be driving. Lower the speed limit and raise the age for a drivers license.


I was at the site, and yes, a very HAPPY ending. The front tire of the car hit the curb, and they lost control. Police said neither
speed nor alcohol were factors.


Most roads do have curves somewhere along the way!

Mercury near Pottawatomie Bayou, Wesco curve and several on Green and Cedar.

Pay attention to your driving!!


the article fails to mention if speed was a factor or any number of things.its always easier to put the blame on someone or something else


Since the driver was 17 he likely has a level 3 license which has no restrictions. So it would be legal to have as many passengers as you want.


I'm glad nobody was injured in this accident, drivers please pay attention, the road is not the problem.

I also am very happy to hear that the Utility Workers that were on call this Holiday weekend were on site quickly and made the repairs in the dark safely and without any of their own injuries.

Thank you UWUA workers and all others involved in restoring power early this morning, also the same goes to Charter!


How about utility workers that happen to belong to a union,what does that have to do with it,there getting paid double time,its not like they donated their services.


When I worked on the railroad as a signal maintainer, we were on-call 24/7/365. Sure, we were paid double time for holiday work, but it was not worth it. Since we were on call constantly, we had to remain within our territory at all times. I could not even go home to see my family for Christmas. For five years, I spent Christmas totally alone here in Grand Haven, wishing that I could just see my family and friends for a few short hours.

One year I tried going home (a 2.5 hour drive) on Christmas Morning only to get a service call nearly as soon as I arrived. I literally was screamed at by both of my supervisors and the owner of the company for nearly a week for taking 2.5 hours to get to the crossing out at Riley-Thompson Rd in Muskegon. It was just lights and bells going off in the middle of nowhere (no gates, and no trains running on the holidays as the entire railroad was shut down except us). Nearly got fired over it.

I also was completely chewed out by both the owners daughters (who run the office out in Shelby Twp. near Detroit) two separate times; once when my grandmother passed and I went home to attend her funeral despite being told not to by the company, and again two years ago when my grandfather who had essentially raised me and taught me everything I know had a stroke (he luckily made it through with only moderate issues) and I rushed home mid-day to be there with him in the hospital.

So, instead of focusing on the fact that these guys are in unions, think for a moment about the fact that life is NOT about money, and that maybe they would like to enjoy a few hours off with their families on a holiday weekend.

You could pay me four times what the normal holiday pay was, and I still would not go back to being on-call.

I commend the crews out working through the night to restore power to a large chunk of town when they would most likely much rather be at home in bed. They worked their butts off so the rest of the citizens of Grand Haven could have an enjoyable weekend.

retired DOC

That 24/7/365 is wrong. Why say 24 hours a day 7 day a week 365 days a year? Try 24/365 or 24/7/52. Makes more sense.


I commend the crews however GH should consider have Consumers Energy do all the the distribution work.


Why?? They all have the same training, skills and equipment!!!


Lets see maybe 5 trucks and 20 employees as opposed to 300 trucks and 1000 employees!


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