By Dave Rogers
---- — NEWBURYPORT – One person was slightly injured yesterday afternoon after slamming her Acura SUV into a Water Street telephone pole, shearing it off and forcing the closure of the busy waterfront road.
The female driver, whose identity was not immediately released by police, was able to leave the car on her own power and seemed to be favoring one of her legs, according to a nearby neighbor who rushed outside after hearing the loud crash. The victim, who looked to be in her 40s or 50s, was placed on a backboard and transported to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport.
“I think she was stunned, more than anything else,” Water Street resident John Janvrin said while watching police and firefighters respond to the crash.
Police are still investigating the cause of the accident, which took place around lunchtime, but said the woman was traveling westbound on the narrow 30 mph road towards the downtown area when she lost control and crashed into the pole. Her car sustained heavy damage to the passenger side front bumper and tire and had to be towed away. At least one air bag deployed.
As a result of the crash, Water Street, from Madison Street to Marlboro Street, was closed for most of the afternoon as National Grid crews removed the pole and replaced it with a fresh one. At least one power wire was seen on the ground while the remaining wires were the only thing keep up the severed police. School bus routes were also diverted to nearby streets.
Janvrin said he regularly sees cars race by his house well past the speed limit sometimes reaching 60 mph.
“I’ve lived here all my life, I’ve seen a lot,” Janvrin said.
In November 2011, a Newburyport Public Library custodian was charged with drunken driving after smashing into a utility pole at the same exact spot, knocking out power for more than 100 people for most of the day. The driver admitted to sufficient facts and was ordered to pay $1,200 in court costs, an undetermined amount back to the city for damaging the post, attend an alcohol safety awareness program and lost his license for 45 days.