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Crash knocks out power

MEDFORD — Two people were injured and nearly 2,000 homes and businesses were left without electricity Thursday afternoon after a car crash on North Columbus Avenue snapped a power pole, officials said.

Witnesses told police Joel Cortez-Alcautar, 19, was driving his Ford Mustang north on Columbus Avenue near the intersection of Fourth Street when he lost control of the car and crashed into a power pole.

The impact caused the car to flip onto its roof, injuring Cortez-Alcautar and his passenger, whose name was not made available. Police said the injuries were not life threatening.

Mario Stewart was on his computer across the street when he suddenly lost power and heard a crash outside his door.

"I ran out the door to go check what happened," Stewart said. "I saw a bunch of people standing around the car not doing anything."

Stewart said after he watched Cortez-Alcautar crawl from the wreckage, he went to the car and reached into the Mustang to help the passenger from the car.

"He was bleeding from his forehead," Stewart said. "He seemed out of it."

Emergency crews took both men to Providence Medford Medical Center, where the passenger was receiving a CAT scan Thursday evening.

"We expect both to make a recovery," Medford police Sgt. Mark Bell said.

The Mustang sheered off a 20-foot section of the power pole and left the top of the pole suspended by wires several feet above the sidewalk.

The crash was reported at around 2:18 p.m. It originally knocked out power to 2,000 customers. Pacific Power employees restored power to 900 customers by rerouting electricity from a substation on Sage Road, Pacific Power spokesman Monte Mendenhall said.

The remaining 1,100 customers, including the Medford Police Department, were without power for approximately four hours, Mendenhall said. The outage also affected several downtown traffic signals.

Witnesses told police the Mustang was traveling at least 50 mph before it hit the pole. The speed limit in the area is listed as 35 mph.

Cortez-Alcautar was cited for careless driving, Bell said.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.

Crash knocks out power