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Hit-and-run crash causes blackout at Rohnert Park casino

The power outage was caused by the driver of a Ford Focus that ran off Roberts Lake Road in northern Rohnert Park and crashed into a power pole, CHP Sgt. Allan Capurro said.

The impact knocked down electrical lines near southern Santa Rosa Avenue and left 3,631 customers in east and west Rohnert Park without power.

All customers were reconnected by 12:15 a.m., with some restored a little earlier, PG&E spokesman J.D. Guidi said.

The driver, Roberto Vergara Jr., 23, of Santa Rosa, contacted the CHP on Wednesday. He told an investigator that he left the late-night scene because he was scared.

The crash, considered a misdemeanor hit-and-run, remained under investigation Wednesday.

After hitting the pole, the car caught fire. Rincon Valley, Rohnert Park and Santa Rosa firefighters responded to the blaze.

At the casino, the building became oddly quiet when the power went out, said Mark Spongberg, a Santa Rosa resident who was inside the poker room. Several lights came back on shortly after the casino went dark, but the main poker area was dimly lit, he said.

Another visitor, Charles Borges, said the casino was "warm, hot and smoky and pitch black" immediately after the power outage.

Spongberg said dealers initially did not allow customers to cash out chips while the lights were out. But at about 11:15 p.m. customers were asked to form a line so they could get their cash.

"Prior to all the emergency power going on, we had reached out and worked with every single guest," Nelson said.


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