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Impaired driving charges laid after crash knocks out power to parts of Saskatoon

Click to play video: 'Alleged impaired driver crashes into power pole, thousands lose power in Saskatoon'
Alleged impaired driver crashes into power pole, thousands lose power in Saskatoon
WATCH: An alleged impaired driver crashes into power pole, causing thousands lose power in Saskatoon – Oct 22, 2019

Impaired driving charges have been laid after a crash plunged parts of Saskatoon into darkness Monday night.

Saskatoon police said a pickup truck hit a median and a power pole at 8th Street and Boychuk Drive, bringing down power lines and knocking out power.

SaskPower reported at 10:57 p.m. that several neighbourhoods were without power, including Briarwood, Lawson Heights, River Heights, Sutherland, Wildwood, Willowgrove and the University of Saskatchewan.

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Boychuk from 8th Street to Briarwood Road was completely closed to traffic as crews worked to restore power. SaskPower said the damage from the collision was “extensive.”

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SaskPower added around 17,500 customers were affected by power outages.

The number of outages was high because the pole that was struck carried both transmission and distribution lines.

Transmission lines carry power from generation facilities to substations while distribution lines carry power from those substations to customers.

“When you have a major disruption to a transmission line like that, it can cause substations to trip off. So we had damage to transmission, distribution and two substations in that one event. And so it took a bit of work to make sure we could get it all fixed and restored,” said SaskPower spokesperson Joel Cherry.

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Power was restored to all affected areas, with the exception of the University of Saskatchewan, just before 6 a.m. Tuesday.

University officials said the power outage forced them to close the campus and cancel morning classes.

Power has been restored and classes will resume Tuesday afternoon.

Police said officers quickly located the 27-year-old driver of the vehicle, who was believed to have initially fled the crash scene.

He has been charged with impaired driving and exceeding .08 and is scheduled to make his first Saskatoon provincial court appearance on Nov. 18.

No injuries were reported.

-With files from Thomas Piller and Kyle Benning

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