Drunk driving crash knocks out lights at city intersection



A suspected drunk driver lost control of his northbound pickup truck around 10 p.m. Wednesday and damaged trees, concrete flower pots, a light post and traffic light pole at Main Street and Chillicothe Avenue, altering for the time being how motorists travel through the intersection.

Bellefontaine Street Department crews placed temporary stop signs turning the intersection into a four-way stop after the pole holding lights for northbound traffic was sheared off at the base.

Street Superintendent Donn Volbrecht said he is not sure how long the signs will remain in place.

“In the past it has taken eight to 10 weeks to get a new pole,” he said, adding he would make calls today to find out the availability for a replacement.

The city may consider putting up a temporary set of lights.

Lights for southbound, eastbound and westbound traffic at the intersection have been set to flashing red to help improve safety, Mr. Volbrecht said.

James L. Current Jr., 40, of Kings Mountain, N.C., has been charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and was cited for failure to control.


Traffic at Main Street and Chillicothe Avenue will be controlled by a four-way stop for the time being after a traffic light pole was sheared off in a Wednesday night crash. (EXAMINER PHOTO | JOEL E. MAST)

He was northbound when his pickup veered off the road and hit a tree, a flower pot and a street lamp near the entrance to PNC Bank’s drive-up tellers. The tree was sheared off and a crack was found in the light post.  

The pickup continued across Chillicothe and struck the traffic light pole, shearing it off. A second tree was destroyed as was a flower pot.

The pole was dragged up the street to Court Avenue where the pickup ran across a crosswalk sign.

Disabled, the pickup finally stopped in front of the Logan County Courthouse.

Officers of the Bellefontaine Police Department detected an odor of alcohol about the motorist and they noticed he was unsteady on his feet.

Field sobriety tests indicated he was intoxicated and he submitted one breathalyzer test that recorded 0.164 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. He failed to provide a valid second test.

As officers were completing paperwork, the motorist passed out in the holding cell.

He was transported to the Logan County Jail.