Police investigate the scene of a one car accident on the 600 block of South Plaza Thursday morning around 11 a.m., after the driver lost control, severing a power pole before coming to a stop by hitting the house in the backyard. (Mark Wilson Photo)
Authorities say a 30-year-old man is facing aggravated DWIâ€ˆcharges after he narrowly missed hitting two cars head-on, slammed into a utility poleâ€ˆâ€” which severed in two, sparked a small fire and caused power outagesâ€” and barreled into a home in southwest Roswell, Thursday morning.
Police identified the driver as Steven Hernandez, and said he was flown to a Lubbock hospital after sustaining injuries, though the extent of injuries is unknown. Police say no other injuries were reported, and that no one was at the home on the 600 block of South Plaza Drive at the time of the crash.
Roswell Fire Department Division Chief Brian Powell called the accident a â€œclose call,â€ noting that the vehicle struck a trampoline in the backyard of the house before smashing into a bedroom.
â€œFortunately no one was home at the time,â€â€ˆPowell said. â€œBut still how would you like to give that call, â€˜Hey, a car just hit your house.â€™â€
Roswell Police Department spokesman Travis Holley wrote in a press release that Hernandez was driving south on Washington Avenue in the northbound lane in a 2000 Oldsmobile when he narrowly missed striking a car head-on. The driver in the car that was almost hit immediately tried to notify the authorities, and began to follow the vehicle, Holley said. The witness, who is a city employee, then watched as Hernandez ran a stop sign at the intersection of Poe Street and Washington Avenue and smashed into the utility pole, fence and residence, Holley said.
Holley added that police learned on scene when another witness approached police that a second car was almost hit head-on by Hernandez.
Powell said the downed utility pole caused power lines to drape on top of one another, and on nearby trees, which sparked a small fire that was quickly extinguished by fire crews.
â€œ(It was) dropping powerlines on top of each other, not on the ground, but just on top of trees,â€ he said.
About 2,035 people experience momentary power outages, Xcel Energy spokesman Wes Reeves said, and a â€œhandfulâ€ of customers near the accident scene experienced outages for about an hour before the lines were restored.
â€œIt was no more than a momentary outage,â€â€ˆReeves said in a phone interview from the regional office in Amarillo, Texas. â€œThe blink lasted a few seconds, if even that, except for those (near the accident scene).â€
Reeves estimated that it would cost some $10,000 to replace the severed utility pole.
RPDâ€ˆfield officer Kevin Weekley, who responded to the accident, said the cost of damage to the house is unknown at this time, and that judging from the damage to the Oldsmobile, it was likely that Hernandez was speeding in the 30-mph zoned neighborhood.
â€œThe damage is quite extensive,â€â€ˆWeekley said, â€œThe car looks to be totaled, the telephone pole is in half … this is not typical that someone tears through telephone pole.â€
Neighbors reported that speeding is sometimes a problem in the neighborhood, which is just 1.2 miles away from Roswell High School.
In addition to aggravated DWIâ€ˆcharges, Holley said that upon Hernandezâ€™s release from the hospital, he will also face charges of no insurance, no seat belt, driving on a suspended license and operating a vehicle that does not contain an interlock system. Holley said Hernandez also had an outstanding warrant for failure to pay fines.