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Driver critically injured in Highway 3 collision that knocked out power to thousands

Highway 3, in B.C.’s Similkameen region, has been reopened in both directions after a driver was critically injured in a crash that downed power lines on Saturday evening.

Police said the driver, a 63-year-old man from North Vancouver, was hurt when the vehicle he was driving went off the road and hit a power pole.

The RCMP said its initial investigation suggests after the vehicle hit the power pole it flipped “back onto the roadway, obstructing both lanes and causing instability to the power pole.”

According to police, witnesses removed the man from the vehicle through the sunroof.

He was taken to hospital.

FortisBC said a transmission line in Hedley, across from the West Hedley Mall, was “impacted” in the incident knocking out power to more than 7,900 customers.

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The utility said the communities of Princeton, Hedley and Keremeos didn’t have electrical service for around a half hour on Saturday evening.

READ MORE: Trans-Canada Highway between Revelstoke and Alberta border to undergo avalanche control closures

DriveBC reported that Highway 3 was closed in both directions at 6:50 p.m., three kilometres west of Hedley.

A detour was unavailable at the time and the Ministry of Transportation warned drivers to “expect major delays.”

READ MORE: Coquihalla Highway reopened after earlier flooding, road debris

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Highway road maintenance contractor AIM Roads said on Facebook that first responders, power crews and AIM Roads workers responded to the scene.

Police said officers are still investigating what caused the vehicle to drift off the road and into a power pole.

Fortis is reminding drivers that if they are in a collision involving power poles or power lines they should stay in the vehicle, call 911 and wait until help arrives.

In these cases, the utility said, it can turn off and isolate the power.

In general, the utility said people should stay at least 30 feet from downed power lines.

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