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WAPA Bucket Truck Flips, Hits A Utility Pole, Takes Out Power For 5 Feeders


WAPA truck crash

WAPA bucket truck crashed

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – Two Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) linemen were transported to the Schneider Regional Medical Center for observation and treatment of injuries Tuesday evening after the bucket truck they were driving in crashed into a utility pole on St. Thomas’ Solberg road.

The WAPA truck experienced an apparent malfunction before striking a pole, flipping and coming to rest on its side just after 6 p.m.

The accident and impact with the utility pole sent a surge through the electrical distribution system tripping up to five feeders.

While emergency personnel tended to the injured workers, WAPA staff quickly restored power to all affected feeders and within an hour, isolated the accident area and restored service to the remainder of Feeder 7A.

The accident also caused a problem on a small area near the Contant Carwash and in Estate Altona. About 400 customers on Feeder 7A remained without service while crews from WAPA and Public Works worked to upright the bucket truck.

Virgin Islands Police and Virgin Islands Fire Services also assisted with crowd control, the traffic investigation and the clean-up of spilled fluids from the overturned utility truck.

“I am first of all grateful that the two line department employees were not seriously injured. We took the precaution of having them undergo an evaluation at the hospital,” said WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge, Jr.

Hodge said he “applauded the actions of the truck crew who upon realizing that the vehicle was malfunctioning made a quick decision to turn it into the bushes off the side of the road and away from a steep turn that was just a few hundred feet away.”

“(If ) they had ended up in that turn, there was a good chance that the accident would have been catastrophic,” Hodge said.

Hodge apologized to the public for the service interruption caused by the accident but assured the customers that remained without electrical service through the 11 p.m. hour that full service would be restored before the night was out.

“We will remove the damaged vehicle and then work to secure the snapped utility pole and restore power to the immediate area. Innovative Telephone was also notified of the accident and its crews were dispatched to determine whether any telecommunications infrastructure was impacted by the accident,” he said.

WAPA said that an internal investigation led by its Safety Division would begin into the cause of the accident.

hugo hodge

  “Hurricane” Hugo Hodge Jr. at his desk

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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