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SUV Crash Closes Route 34, Causes Electrical Outages

Photo: Andrew Gorosko

An SUV traveling westward on Berkshire Road, near its intersection with Pole Bridge Road, went off the right side of the street midday on Monday, July 29, into the parking lot of Misty Vale Deli, damaging utility poles and lines. The accident resulted in isolated power outages in the area and the closure of a section of Berkshire Road while repairs were underway. 

At about 11:45 am on Monday, July 29, motorist Michael Verini, 25, of Oxford was driving a 2002 Honda CRV SUV westward on Berkshire Road (Route 34), when the vehicle went off the right road shoulder at the parking lot for Misty Vale Deli & General Store at 51 Berkshire Road, according to police.

The Honda then squarely smashed into a utility pole, snapping it into two pieces, one of which remained suspended in the air from utility lines.

Verini received a minor injury in the crash and he refused treatment, police said. Verini was issued an infraction for making a restricted turn, police said.

The accident, which occurred on a road section that has seen many serious accidents, resulted in isolated power outrages in the area and an extended road closure along a section of Berkshire Road.

It was not until the nighttime that two new utility poles were installed and lines were restrung in the area, allowing normal traffic flow to resume on Berkshire Road. Three utility crews worked on the repairs.

One utility pole needed to be replaced due to impact damage and the other was replaced because it had caught fire after the collision. Electrical lines in the area also ignited.

Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Co. Chief Bill Halstead said that on arriving at the accident scene, firefighters found that Verini had gotten out of the vehicle, which had heavy front-end damage. There were no passengers.

Firefighters checked Verini for possible injuries. Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps members also responded to the accident.

Firefighters blocked roads in the area due to electrical lines having fallen and caught fire, Chief Halstead said. About a dozen firefighters responded to the scene.

Roadblocks to through-traffic initially were set up at the intersection of Berkshire Road and Toddy Hill Road, the intersection of Berkshire Road and Sherman Street, and the intersection of Pole Bridge Road and Jeremiah Road. Motorists thus needed to find alternate routes in their travels in that area.

While most vehicles were able to navigate different routes than normally taken, such closures of major roads pose particular problems for large vehicles such as tractor-trailer trucks, which are not able to travel easily on narrow local roads.

It was about an hour after the crash that utility crews were able to reconnect some lines and restore electric service to some residents in the area, Chief Halstead said.

Firefighters spent about two hours at the accident before returning to their fire station.

Officer Matthew Pirhala investigated the accident for police.

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