Power restored to thousands of PG&E west county customers following Forestville crash

The Forestville crash involving a suspected intoxicated driver affected a tower holding both transmission and distribution lines, according to PG&E. As many as 12,611 customers lost power.|

Pacific Gas & Electric crews successfully restored power to a remaining 251 customers in western Sonoma County overnight Sunday, who were among more than 12,600 customers who lost power after a vehicle crashed into a transmission pole in Forestville this weekend.

The crash was reported at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, officials said, adding that the transmission pole toppled into a house, knocking out electricity to a wide swath of the region stretching to the coast.

No one in the home was injured.

It took PG&E crews most of the day Saturday to restore service to affected customers.

Of the 251 without power by 9 p.m. Saturday, 226 near the transmission pole were set to go back online by 10 p.m. Just 25 customers would not get electricity back until midnight, PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Contreras said. That group had to wait until a pole and all the lines and equipment were replaced.

“Several circuits were impacted,” Contreras said. “So lots of equipment to replace.”

She added that “there was more damage than they expected.”

A Redcom representative said the crash was first reported at about 1:30 a.m. near 8244 Trenton Road and resulted in a power outage for residents in communities west of that location.

California Highway Patrol Officer Dave deRutte said the driver of a Dodge Ram truck was traveling north on Covey Road near the intersection of Trenton Road when his vehicle ran off the road, hit a guardrail, then a power pole, then a street sign, then a tree and then ran into a house.

The owners of the house were home at the time but no one was in the bedroom when the truck crashed into it, he said.

The driver, David Yoxall, 51, of Forestville, who was the sole occupant, suffered minor cuts and bruises and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and taken to a nearby hospital. Yoxall was released by hospital staff and the CHP booked him into Sonoma County Jail, deRutte said.

Contreras said the utility company worked as quickly as possible to restore power to customers in Guerneville, Rio Nido, Cazadero, Camp Meeker, Monte Rio, Villa Grande and a few addresses in Sebastopol and Duncans Mills.

She said the crash also impacted another area in the Bodega Bay and Bodega communities, affecting 1,819 customers.

Karly Hernandez, another PG&E spokeswoman, said the crash initially affected 12,611 customers — as many as 20,000 people in the region.

David Levinger, president of the Athena Terrace Mutual Water Co., said the severe power surge caused the area’s water system to go offline. He was just back from buying fuses to replace those blown out.

He also said one of the company’s wells is now offline and several residents of Athena Court had surge protectors blow in the unincorporated area 3 to 4 miles from the crash. Another neighbor had damage to their microwave, another to a thermostat, he said

“The thing about this is that there were thousands of homes that went offline,” Levinger said. “If every home had $20 of equipment they had to replace, plus the added cost for those who had to call an electrician, who is responsible for this?”

Staff Writer Martin Espinoza contributed to this report.

You can reach Staff Writer Kathleen Coates at kathleen.coates@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5209.

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