Crash into gas meter led to an evacuation in Atwater
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.