A Granby man is facing charges after he allegedly crashed his truck into a utility pole Sunday morning, causing a transformer to explode and resulting in power outages throughout the city.
According to police, 29-year-old Nathen A. MacDonald, of Granby, was driving with his ability impaired by drugs when his vehicle crashed into a utility pole on W. Third Street, between Curtis and Cedar streets, around 11:15 a.m.
Eyewitnesses said they saw MacDonald’s pickup truck heading southbound on W. Third Street when it crossed the oncoming lane and struck the pole, which was on the other side of the road. The crash then caused a transformer about 200 feet down the road to blow, resulting in power outages throughout the area lasting well into the afternoon.
One National Grid official estimated “about a quarter” of the city had lost power as a result of that incident. That outage also left some of Fulton’s traffic lights out of order, including the intersection of Broadway and W. First Street, where police were directing traffic for hours after the crash.
Power had mostly been restored to the households affected by the blown transformer when, around 7 p.m., another transformer on W. Fifth Street overheated and blew, causing a utility pole to catch fire and another wave of power outages. National Grid said the second transformer blowing came as a result of work being done on the first transformer.
The Fulton Fire Department responded to the burning utility pole, which took about an hour to extinguish.
National Grid said about 2,500 Fulton area residents went without power through the evening Sunday and into Monday morning. As of 9:30 a.m. Monday, over 90 customers were still without power, according to National Grid’s outage map.
The incident also caused several households’ electric meters to fail. National Grid was working to the replace those Sunday.
MacDonald was charged with driving with ability impaired by drugs (misdemeanor), aggravated unlicensed operation 3rd degree (misdemeanor), criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th (misdemeanor) and failure to keep right.
He was released on pre-arraignment bail set by the police department. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Fulton City Court on Sept. 24.
An earlier version of this report contained misleading information about Macdonald’s arraignment. A press release provided by the Fulton Police Department Sunday stated that MacDonald had been “released on bail and is due back in Fulton City Court on Sept. 24.” Court officials have since clarified that MacDonald had not appeared in Fulton City Court Sunday, but was released on a pre-arraignment bail set by the police department. He was not arraigned Sunday, as was reported in the newspaper. His appearance on Sept. 24 will be the first time he appears before a judge for these charges.