Driver goes around Knapp Road bar­ri­cade, hits util­ity pole

North Penn Life - - News - By Dan Sokil dsokil@jour­nal­reg­is­ter.com

An unLGHnWL­fiHG wRPDn ErRuJKW WwR firH FRPSDnies, a med­i­cal corps and Mont­gomery Town­ship po­lice to Knapp Road Tues­day night af­ter driv­ing through a bar­ri­cade and hit­ting a util­ity pole that had al­ready been dam­aged by Hur­ri­cane Sandy.

“There are bar­ri­cades up ev­ery­where be­cause of the storm. On Stump Road, we had a bar­ri­cade up be­cause there was a wire down across the road, and some­body drove through and ripped the wire out,” said Bill Wieg­man, chief of the Fire Depart­ment of Mont­gomery Town­ship.

“I guess when peo­ple want to get to where they’re go­ing, they don’t re­ally care what’s in their way,” he said.

In Tues­day’s case, around 5:15 p.m., a woman drove a sil­ver Kia west­bound on Knapp through bar­ri­ers in place at the in­ter­sec­tion with Lex­ing­ton Road, and be­came en­tan­gled in power lines that, ac­cord­ing to neigh­bors, had fallen due to Sandy’s high winds Mon­day night.

Mont­gomery Town­ship po­lice de­clined to iden­tify the woman Tues­day or to say wKDW FKDrJHs wRuOG EH fiOHG for break­ing the bar­ri­cade and driv­ing into a dan­ger zone.

The woman was trapped in her car for slightly less than two hours as FDMT and Fair­mount Fire ComSDny firH­fiJKWHrs GLvHrWHG WrDI­fiF DwDy IrRP WKDW block, and a PECO work crew ar­rived to de-en­er­gize, se­cure and re­move the power lines.

“We can’t get too close to the area be­cause we have to treat all wires like they’re live. In this case, we’re SrHWWy FRn­fiGHnW WKDW WKHy are live, since there’s ser­vice to all of the houses around here,” Wieg­man said.

Neigh­bors at the scene said homes on the Lans­dale side of Knapp Road held power for nearly all of Mon­day night, while homes on the Mont­gomery Town­ship side lost power early Tues­day and were still wait­ing for it to be re­stored when the ac­ci­dent took place. FDMT cleared the scene around 7 p.m. Tues­day.

While watch­ing the res­cue, two neigh­bors — bor­ough coun­cil mem­bers Rich DiGre­go­rio and Jack Hansen — walked up and down Knapp be­hind the po­lice cau­tion tape sur­round­ing the downed lines, warn­ing res­i­dents not to ig­nore bar­ri­cades, es­pe­cially af­ter storms like Sandy.

“The last 24 hours, the bar­ri­cades on Knapp Road have been up, and we have a lot of res­i­dents just blow­ing through the bar­ri­cades and pro­ceed­ing up the road,” DiGre­go­rio said.

A crew from the Lans­dale Elec­tric Depart­ment had re­in­forced the bar­ri­cade at Lex­ing­ton less than 20 min­utes be­fore the ac­ci­dent, he said, but the big­gest fac­tor in pre­vent­ing un­nec­es­sary ac­ci­dents would be more driver at­ten­tion.

“These guys work 24 hours, in storms, our EMS and our pub­lic works staff, so you’ve just got to pay at­ten­tion. Hope­fully this lady gets out no prob­lem,” he said.

Hansen added that the bor­ough had re­cently added speed limit sig­nage along nearby S-bends on Knapp and its emer­gency man­age­ment team had been on duty work­ing on Sandy-re­lated in­ci­dents for more than 24 hours straight be­fore Tues­day’s ac­ci­dent.

“Peo­ple come out and they ig­nore their own safety, and get out here and cause prob­lems not only for them­sHOvHs, EuW IRr Rur firsW rHspon­ders. That is not ac­cept­able,” he said.

“All of the peo­ple in the bor­ough have to learn to un­der­stand what’s out there, and don’t put these hard­work­ing peo­ple in jeop­ardy,” Hansen said.

Photo by MARK C. PSORAS

Po­lice say a woman drove around a bar­ri­cade Tues­day night on Knapp Road and hit a util­ity pole.

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