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Driver’s Fine; Pole’s Not

by Paul Bass | Mar 17, 2014 12:04 pm

(5) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Westville

Paul Bass Photo Anotonio Lopez was out in the frigid air on Central Avenue Monday morning extricating a Toyota Avalon from a pole—and watching his step.

Lopez, who works for Lombard Motors, was called with his tow truck to the scene of a crash on Central just south of Edgewood Avenue around 9:30 a.m.

A man who lives nearby “got distracted” and “looked down” while driving his Toyota Avalon, according to police Officer Steven Manware. Boom! The Toyota rammed into the base of a utility pole by the curb.

The man walked away from the crash without injuries, Manware said.

The pole was another matter.

“I hope it doesn’t fall!” Lopez remarked, looking up, before pulling the Avalon away.

It didn’t fall. But it won’t stand there long, figured Manware. He called AT&T, which owns the poll, to come take it down.

“The pole,” Manware reported, “is deceased.”

(Update: Tuesday 10:30 p.m.: According to the police, the driver, who is in his 50s, was issued a verbal warning for failure to drive in the proper lane.)

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posted by: teachermama on March 18, 2014  8:16am

Was there no ticket issued for this distracted driver?  AKA, using cell phone or texting?  That pole could have been a kid.  I know it’s “funny” to say the pole is dead, but really that guy could have caused a human fatality.  Why don’t we see that the cops were called?  What was his name? I believe in the usefulness of neighbor-shaming.  (If he had been ticketed, we would have his name, correct?)

[Paul: I followed up. The driver, who is in his 50s, received a verbal warning for failure to drive in the proper lane, according to the police.]

posted by: William Kurtz on March 18, 2014  9:09am

I agree. There’s often a little bit of levity attached to a car crash, as if it’s just some kind of minor misadventure. Teachermama’s right; in a residential neighborhood, that pole could easily have been a child.

posted by: leibzelig on March 18, 2014  12:27pm

Teachermama: The cops were called. There was one car near the pole and another blocking Central Avenue at Edgewood Avenue. Yes, it could have been a kid, but it wasn’t. If the driver didn’t get a ticket, it wasn’t because there wasn’t a police presence. Perhaps the cops realized that you should be punished for what happened, not for what could have happened.I’ll bet the driver of that Avalon will not take his or her attention off driving again, especially after getting the bill for the light pole replacement.

posted by: FairHavenRes on March 18, 2014  4:15pm

Many drivers simply do not realize the gravity of their decisions and the potential implications on others.  The driver SHOULD have been issued a ticket because taking your eyes of the road is reckless.  Unfortunately tickets are often issued based on the end result, not the carelessness of the driver.  Taking your eyes off the road while operating a multi-ton hunk of metal that can kill people is grossly negligent and should be punished.  But it’s not.

posted by: William Kurtz on March 18, 2014  6:11pm

“Perhaps the cops realized that you should be punished for what happened, not for what could have happened.”

Except that something did happen, right? Distracted driving is itself worthy of sanction and it’s mere chance that the consequences weren’t more severe, and weren’t borne by a bystander.

Call me crazy, but you just don’t get to take those kinds of unwarranted risks with other peoples’ lives and well-being.

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