Crash into gas me­ter led to an evac­u­a­tion in At­wa­ter

Merced Sun-Star (Saturday) - - Front Page - BY AN­DREW KUHN [email protected]­ced­sun-star.com

Mul­ti­ple homes and a Riggs Am­bu­lance Ser­vice Sub­sta­tion were evac­u­ated Thanks­giv­ing morn­ing af­ter a hit-and-run crash caused a gas leak in At­wa­ter, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

At about 1:30 a.m. of­fi­cers re­sponded to the in­ter­sec­tion of Win­ton Way and Drake­ley Av­enue. Of­fi­cers say the driver of a late 80s model Honda fled the scene af­ter the car struck a parked ve­hi­cle and a sign be­fore crash­ing into a tree, ac­cord­ing to an At­wa­ter po­lice news re­lease.

Au­thor­i­ties de­ter­mined the ve­hi­cle sev­ered a Pa­cific Gas and Elec­tric Com­pany gas me­ter, caus­ing a gas leak. As a re­sult, eight homes plus the sub­sta­tion were evac­u­ated.

About 40 min­utes later PG&E work­ers re­sponded and re­paired the leak, al­low­ing res­i­dents to re­turn home.

Po­lice say the ve­hi­cle’s reg­is­tra­tion had been ex­pired since 2015 and had a dated re­lease of li­a­bil­ity to an ad­dress in Sonora. A wit­ness de­scribed the driver as a heavy­set His­panic male adult wear­ing a black sweat­shirt who took off run­ning south­bound on Win­ton Way.

It’s un­known whether al­co­hol or drugs were in­volved and it doesn’t ap­pear that there was a pas­sen­ger in the ve­hi­cle.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion can call the At­wa­ter Po­lice De­part­ment at 209-357-6396 or con­tact the Merced Area Cimestop­pers at 1-855-7252420, or go to mer ced area crime stop­pers .org to send anony­mous in­for­ma­tion via text or email.

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