Oops! Delivery Truck Knocks Out Power Line

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
A tractor trailer delivery truck accidently ran into a low lying cable on Main Street near Benton County Tire and Maples Ford about 1:30 PM on September 28 causing a domino effect that pulled down two Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L) utility poles, and two Century Link telephone poles. Power was out for about two hours on Main Street and crews from the utility and phone companies worked late into the night to make repairs. The Warsaw Fire Department and Warsaw Streets employees helped to block the affected part of the road and set up a detour for drivers. 
Official police reports are usually available in five to seven business days after an accident, at the Police Department, but owners and managers of several businesses witnessed the accident and were able to tell how they were affected by the power outage.
“A delivery truck pulled out and a low-lying wire got caught on it,” said Tina Pickens, owner of Benton County Tire. “When the wire was pulled, it dragged the pole in front of the store and then the other poles came down. A guy in a white pickup truck tried to pull in the parking area and a pole fell on it. Both drivers had to stay in their vehicles until someone from the power company deemed it safe to step out. Lights were out up and down the street. Some of our mechanics were able to use hand tools for a while, but had to stop after a while and we all just hung out until power was restored.”
The manager at Country Mart said that there was no real problem at the store during the power outage except that customers had to be locked out.  Once the power was back on, between 3:30 and 4 PM, there was a bit of a rush to enter the store, but then business slowed down into its regular pattern again.  The manager said that his registers have a 30 minute battery back-up, so there was no problem with a customer not being able to complete a purchase and get a machine receipt immediately after the outage.
A cashier at Dollar General said that during the outage, the store manager locked the doors, but was able to reopen in a couple of hours. The cashier said she had heard that residents in Blue Branch and some in White Branch were without power until about 11 PM.  
Mary Langewisch, owner of Statuary Gardens, said the power outage came at a bad time for her because she was having a Customer Appreciation sale that included free food. She had to turn off her crock pots, and use a calculator to add up purchases, and hand-write receipts.
“My building shook from the boom of the power outage,” said Langewisch. “My sister (who works in the shop) and I thought that someone had hit the building with their car. We went outside and saw sparks on the wire and then smoke. The customers left so we could close down and after the power was restored, they piled in again.”
Langewisch has had a hard time “making ends meet,” in her business and the time lost for the power outage put her a little more behind. She said that her expenses are going up in part because items she orders for the store from China will have a 25% tariff added to the price beginning in the new year. She needs to sell inventory at full price to make any profit, but many of her items sell only when their prices have been discounted. She plans to close the store sometime next year unless something drastic happens.