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Explosion and power outage lead cops to DUI wreck in Washington, photos show

Police on Mercer Island in Washington said they heard and felt the explosion early Friday, which led them to a suspected DUI crash.

At the same time, power went out around 3:30 a.m. for a large segment of the island in Lake Washington east of Seattle, police said in a news release. Puget Sound Energy’s outage map estimated 104 customers were impacted when power went out at 3:25 a.m., with the utility estimated power would be restored at 3:30 p.m.

Once officers started investigating, they discovered power lines down and then “found a vehicle had (sheared) off the power pole and was down in the ravine about 65 feet from the roadway,” police said.

After officers made it down to the wreck site, a woman was found trapped inside the car alone “with what appeared to be minor injuries,” police said. Firefighters and a ladder truck pulled the driver from the ravine in a rescue that took around two hours.

Medics said the driver, a 41-year-old Seattle woman, was intoxicated, according to police.

She was taken to Harborview Medical Center, police said, adding that a DUI investigation is underway. Police did not identify the woman.

Puget Sound Energy workers, who were in the area for an unrelated issue, helped police safely investigate the downed power lines, according to the news release. Police said that before they started investigating, the utility workers “did not know the reason for the power loss nor explosion.”

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.
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