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Truck Accident Causes Power Outage, Traffic Jams

June 24, 2005 – Residents and businesses outside Cruz Bay on Centerline and Gifft Hill Roads lost power Friday afternoon when a truck plowed into a telephone pole on Centerline Road near Grunwald. According to Alvis Christian, who heads V.I. Territorial Emergency Management operations on St. John, the accident caused major traffic problems because that section of Centerline is used by people traveling to and from Cruz Bay.
"Traffic was diverted down Gifft Hill," he said.
Christian added that the accident happened in the early afternoon and that power was back by late afternoon at the VITEMA office in Susannaberg.
Lucy Portlock, who lives off Gifft Hill Road, said her power came back on at approximately 4 p.m.
She said she tried to go out Friday afternoon but was turned back when she got to Centerline Road and when she tried to get to Cruz Bay via Gifft Hill Road.
Christian said the Gifft Hill Road traffic problem happened when a trailer slid off a tractor trailer near Fish Bay on Gifft Hill Road.
"It slowed down traffic," he said.
Glenn Rothgeb, chief operating officer at the V.I. Water and Power Authority, said late Friday afternoon that power to most areas had been restored. However, he said that the area right where the accident occurred was still without power.
He said WAPA has to install a new pole, which requires a St. Thomas-based crew.
WAPA expects to restore all power later Friday night.
Rothgeb said no one was injured in the accident.
Repeated calls late Friday afternoon to Police Department spokesman Sgt. Thomas Hannah for additional information were met with the "all circuits are busy" message.
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