Suspected DUI crash cuts power to more than 500 Santa Rosa customers

A 19-year-old Santa Rosa man suspected of driving under the influence of drugs rammed into a utility pole near Santa Rosa Memorial Park cemetery, cutting power to at least 500 households for more than 12 hours Saturday, authorities said.

Gerardo Viramontes was later cited to appear in court for suspected DUI but avoided going straight to jail because he was in a local hospital being treated for injuries sustained in the 10:50 a.m. vehicle crash, Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Justin Farrington said.

Viramontes was in a white Mercedes-Benz A220 sedan on Franklin Avenue at North Street and Poppy Drive when he left the road, went up an embankment and slammed into the power pole with such force it sheared off the base of the pole and left the top of it dangling in the wires, emergency personnel said.

Traffic along several blocks of Franklin and North were rerouted for many hours while crews closed off the road and tended to repairs, working as safely as possible, officials said.

PG&E spokesman JD Guidi said the outage, officially reported at ?10:53 a.m. Saturday, affected about 540 customers.

All users had power fully restored by 11:55 p.m., he said.

Farrington said Viramontes was cited in the hospital but was not arrested or booked because of his injuries.

You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 707-521-5249 or On Twitter @MaryCallahanB.

Mary Callahan

Environment and Climate Change, The Press Democrat

I am in awe of the breathtaking nature here in Sonoma County and am so grateful to live in this spectacular region we call home. I am amazed, too, by the expertise in our community and by the commitment to protecting the land, its waterways, its wildlife and its residents. My goal is to improve understanding of the issues, to find hope and to help all of us navigate the future of our environment. 

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