Residents describe what they heard and saw when an RV driver crashed through an alley, struck and power line pole and slammed into a fence Tuesday night in Van Nuys. Toni Guinyard reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Wednesday July 3, 2013.
A recreational vehicle driver left a trail of destruction and knocked out power in a Van Nuys neighborhood Tuesday night after crashing into vehicles, a fence and the corner of an apartment complex.
The crash involving a 1973 Tioga Sportsman occurred at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday on Sepulveda Boulevard. Witnesses told police the driver was traveling at about 60 to 70 mph on Sepulveda Boulevard before turning into an alley behind the Kingston Apartments complex at Clark Street (map).
The driver struck a corner of the building and sheared off at least two power line poles. The RV also crashed into a fence and damaged about 10 vehicles at an adjacent apartment complex.
"I was in bed and saw sparks flying up over my building," said resident Nick Cochran. "It was just chaos back there."
Two of the units were "yellow-tagged" by the Department of Public Works. The designation indicates structural damage detected after an inspection by agency officials.
The driver was identified as 60-year-old Lawrence Wright, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The Sun Valley resident was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor DUI after refusing sobriety tests, according to the LAPD.
Bail was set at $30,300.
When police arrived, they found what remained of the RV in a parking area. The rear of the vehicle was destroyed and contents of the RV were scattered throughout the parking area.
A fire-rescue crew extricated the driver from the Sportman's cab.
"At first, I couldn't see a vehicle," said Officer Oliver Olano. "I couldn't see what the citizens were talking about until we approached the rear of the parking lot. All you could see was what used to be a vehicle, disintegrated.
"There were items all over the place. The only thing you could see was the front of the RV."
The power outage affected about 480 residents in a five-square block area from Sepulveda Boulevard to Burbank Boulevard. Power was returned to most customers early Wednesday morning.
"Those people that didn't hear the noise are waking up to clocks that are not right, going to work late and really not seeing what happened," said resident Don Taylor.
Three pit bulls and Chihuahua were found safe in the RV. Animal services officers were called to the location.
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