Crash causes power outage in Grand Haven Township

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 3:03 PM

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.

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