Power Restored to 1,200 Customers After SUV Shears Pole

A suspected drunken driver raced after another car before crashing, police said

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Kendell Graves explains what he saw and heard immediately after a possible drunk driver slammed his van into an apartment building in El Sereno, cutting power to more than 1,200 customers but not injuring anyone. Reggie Kumar reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Mar. 24, 2013. (Published Sunday, Mar 24, 2013)

    More than 1,000 residents in El Sereno were without power for nearly 11 hours Sunday after a sport utility vehicle slammed into a power pole, severing it in half, officials said.

    Police believe a man behind the wheel of the vehicle was driving drunk when he lost control and crashed at 3:40 a.m. on Valley Boulevard near the Long Beach Freeway in El Sereno north of downtown Los Angeles, police said.

    The SUV cut the pole in half before landing on its side in the front yard of an apartment complex, said Sgt. Kevin Moore, of the Los Angeles Police Department.

    "Once I saw power line go down," said Kendell Graves, a resident in the complex, who heard the "boom, boom" when the SUV crashed. "I immediately froze up."

    The incident began when the driver of the SUV confronted another driver in a Subaru and asked him where he was from, a common reference to gang affiliation, police said.

    The Subaru driver became scared and drove away.

    The man in the SUV followed the Subaru before losing control and crashing, officials said.

    The driver of the Subaru who saw the crash called police to report it and the confrontation.

    Once police arrived, they detained the SUV driver and a passenger, who they believe were drunk.

    The driver, who was not immediately identified, was being evaluated at a hospital for injuries. Police said they plan to book him into jail, but details were not immediately available, Moore said.

    Investigators were also searching for two other people who they believe were riding in the SUV at the time of the crash, police said.

    Power was restored at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, officials said.

    NBC's Reggie Kumar contributed to this report.

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