This Monday morning crash closed a section of Croton Avenue between Cascade Street and Crawford Avenue, and left about 1,155 Penn Power customers — including the Lawrence County courthouse and the New Castle Area School District Administration building — without power.

The driver of an SUV that sheared off a phone pole and caused a widespread power outage Monday morning was Zebuliah J. Bartley of 182 Halltown…

No injuries were reported Monday when an SUV smashed into a pole and took out electrical power throughout the lower East Side of New Castle.

The crash, which occurred around 9:10 a.m. in the 1000 block of Croton Avenue near Vine Street, sheared off a power pole that pulled down another pole, pulled wires off of five houses and essentially destroyed two transformers, according to New Castle Fire Chief Mike Kobbe.

Initially, the accident knocked out electrical service to 1,155 customers in New Castle, including the entire Croton area, plus 71 customers in Hickory Township, according to Penn Power's website. Most of the power had been restored by 2 p.m.

A cavalcade of about 10 Penn Power trucks and workers responded to the area to replace poles, wires and transformers and to clean up mineral oiled that spilled from the transformers.

The outage forced the closing of the Lawrence County courthouse and related buildings for the rest of the day, Commissioner Chairman Morgan Boyd reported.

The New Castle Area School District administration building also had no power, school officials reported.

Boyd said that the last day to pay county property taxes at discount has been extended to Wednesday because of today's courthouse closure.

He said most of the county government buildings around the courthouse were closed because they had no power and the computers were inoperable. The courts also were closed, but were open for emergencies such as emergency protection from abuse orders. Boyd said the courthouse will resume normal operations Tuesday.

Central Court remained open Monday because it did not lose power.

New Castle public works temporarily closed Croton Avenue between Cascade Street and Crawford Avenue because of the fallen pole and downed wires. The road was reopened to traffic at 2 p.m. 

Kobbe said that according to a fire department report, the SUV driver was eastbound and went left of center, hitting a pole on the westbound side of the road and shearing it off. The pressure from his hitting the pole pulled down the second power pole.    

Attempts to reach the New Castle police for more accident details and the identity of the driver were unsuccessful Monday.

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Debbie's been a journalist at the New Castle News since 1978, and covers county government, police and fire, New Castle schools, environment and various other realms. She also writes features, takes photos and video and copy edits.

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