SH, surrounding areas, go dark after pickup hits power pole

Sweet Home was out of power for about six hours Friday night after a pickup smashed into a power pole on Pleasant Valley Road.

Michael Noreika, 57, who drove a blue 1989 F250 pickup, told Linn County sheriff’s deputies that he swerved to miss a deer and crashed into a power pole across the road north of Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, 1042 Pleasant Valley Road.

Several loud booms followed the crash as nearby transformers blew, and the lights went out.

Noreika was transported to Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital with minor injuries, including a possible broken arm, said Capt. Jeff Cone of Linn County Sheriff’s Office. He was not cited.

Some 17,500 Pacific Power customers in the Sweet Home, Lebanon and Crowfoot areas were without power starting at 7:48 p.m. Pacific Power was able to restore power to Lebanon and Crowfoot by 8:50 p.m. About 7,000 remained without power until 1:48 a.m. on Saturday.

Medics and rescue personnel from Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District responded, said Paramedic Ken Weld. The rescue crew went a little further up the road and found multiple blown transformers, but there were no fires.

Sweet Home Police Department had an extra officer working during the outage, said Sgt. Jeff Lynn. “I was told there was a lot of traffic, a lot of cars.”

Police set flares at each of the intersections controlled by traffic lights, which all become four-way stops when the power is out.

Sweet Home officers cited one person for no license and arrested another for disorderly conduct during the outage.

Lynn said he didn’t notice anything on the log as far as stopping people for running through the intersections without stopping,

but several building alarms were activated. Police responded to those except where alarm companies canceled the call.