Driver Who Caused Blackout Was Almost Home

By Ran Northam Posted December 30, 2013 at 2:05 pm

CHAPEL HILL – The driver who knocked out two power poles causing power outages for 350 Orange County residents was less than half a mile from his home, according to Chapel Hill Police.

Public Information Lt. Josh Mecimore says 23-year-old Franklin Dalina Goncalves was charged with Driving While Impaired after losing control of his vehicle just three tenths of a mile from his residence.

“The estimated damage to the car was $10,000,” Lt. Mecimore says. “It was a 2004 Acura, so that’s probably a good bit of the value of the car. They estimated the damage to Duke Power’s equipment at $10,000, too.”

Goncalves’ address is listed as 1250 Ephesus Church Road which is The Park at Chapel Hill Apartment community. The police report shows that he took a turn too fast; his vehicle jumped the curb and lost traction.

“It’s possible that there may have been an additional citation related to the driving: speeding or careless and reckless or something like that,” Lt. Mecimore says. “But as far as the charges that he was taken before the magistrate on, it was just the DWI.”

Two power poles were taken out by the incident, but Lt. Mecimore says the evidence didn’t point to Goncalves hitting both of them.

“I think the second was brought down by the weight…or maybe the stress from the wires coming down from that pole,” Lt. Mecimore says. “So, it doesn’t look like it actually struck both.”

Goncalves was released on a written promise to appear in court by the Orange County magistrate. His court date is set for January 6 in Hillsborough.

For more on the outage, click here.

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