Car hits pole; 107,000 in three counties lose power

MOUNT VERNON — Power was knocked out to more than 100,000 customers in Skagit County and on Whidbey and Orcas islands after a vehicle ran into a power pole along Highway 20 near Sedro-Woolley.

Puget Sound Energy spokeswoman Dorothy Bracken says a total of about 93,000 customers were without power in Skagit County and on parts of Whidbey Island immediately after the accident about 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Randy Cornelius, general manager for Orcas Power and Light Cooperative, says all 14,000 customers in San Juan County also were knocked out.

All of Whidbey Island was restored by 7:20 p.m.

PSE spokeswoman Catherine Lenox said late Thursday night that power had been restored to all but about 10,000 customers in Skagit County and full restoration was expected shortly.

San Juan County was still without power shortly before 9 p.m.

The outage also affected the Shell and Tesoro oil refineries near Anacortes. Refinery spokesmen say their production equipment automatically shut down and began burning off oil products as it’s designed to do, causing visible smoke and flame but no injuries or reports of spills. Power was restored to the refineries before 8 p.m.

Bracken said power restoration was slowed somewhat by the fact that a transmission line was down for maintenance in Skagit County, slowing the process of rerouting power around the accident scene.

The car that caused the accident was carrying four young adults — a 27-year-old driver from SeaTac and three passengers from Sedro-Woolley. The Washington State Patrol said all were taken to hospitals.

Troopers said the car was eastbound when it drifted into the westbound lanes, overcorrected and struck the power pole.

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