Driver in serious condition after hitting power pole; Incident causes power outage to about 850 customers

A Monday morning car crash just east of McNeil Canyon seriously injured an Anchor Point woman after her car hit a power pole and a power line landed on her car. Homer Electric Association workers cut power to the line. Kachemak Emergency Services medics had to use the Jaws of Life to extricate the driver, Jill Davis, 39. She was taken to South Peninsula Hospital with serious injuries. At press time Wednesday her condition is unknown.

KES Fire Chief Bob Cicciarella said the call at about 7 a.m. first came in as a report of an explosion at McNeil Canyon Elementary School. Dispatchers quickly determined that report to be false and that a transformer on Old East End Road had blown.

“From what people in the area said, it really lit up the sky. … It was a big ball of light in the air,” Cicciarella said.

According to an Alaska State Troopers press release, Davis had been driving on East End Road when she failed to make a curve in the road near Mile 13. Her vehicle went off the road, rolled several times and struck a power pole.

That in turn caused a transformer to blow on Old East End Road and start a small fire, Cicciarella said. KES firefighters and medics found themselves responding to two incidents: the car crash and the transformer fire. Firefighters put out the transformer fire quickly. KES crews responded in a ladder truck with the Jaws of Life, a fire engine, an ambulance, a rescue truck and several command vehicles.

KES medics had to wait for HEA crews to turn off power to the line before they could get Davis out of her car. Cicciarella said Davis was conscious and alert and she understood instructions to stay put.

“It wasn’t at the time life threatening because she was conscious. We were able to make sure the scene was secure and safe before extricating her,” Cicciarella said.

Davis did the right thing by not moving, said HEA spokesperson Bruce Shelley. That’s exactly what someone should do if they ever find themselves in a vehicle with a potentially live power line touching it.

“If you’re in a vehicle and the power line is down, stay in your car, even if it’s on top of the car,” Shelley said.

The crash caused about 850 HEA customers in the area to lose power. By 8:30 a.m. power had been restored to 335 meters and all power — except the damaged meter on the pole — was restored by 10:50 a.m., Shelly said in a press release.

Davis wore her seat belt at the time of the crash, troopers said in the press release. Troopers also said alcohol is suspected of being a factor in the crash. An investigation is ongoing.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at