LEWISTON — Both drivers escaped serious injury but utility crews were tied up into the night after a collision on Westminster Street sheared a utility pole in half.
Police said a Saab driven by Dyland Ruscansky, 20, of Lewiston, and a Honda SUV driven by Linda Guay, 46, of Lisbon Falls, collided at about 5:15 p.m.
The impact of the crash forced Guay's vehicle into a utility pole, causing the pole to snap in half. The lower half fell to the lawn of a business at the corner of Enterprise Street while the upper dangled from power lines over the street.
A fire hydrant was also ripped from the ground in the crash, causing a brief geyser and a stream of water across the roadway.
The damaged pole caused problems down the line, as a transformer caught fire near the Chickadee of Lewiston restaurant, at the corner of Westminster and Lisbon streets.
Fire crews attended to the burning transformer while police and emergency crews went further up Westminster to the crash site. There, those involved in the wreck were able to exit their vehicles. However, not knowing whether dangling power lines were live or not, police quickly blocked off the area until a Central Maine Power Co. crew could get to the scene.
Fire crews tended to the mangled hydrants while CMP was joined by workers from other utility companies, including FairPoint and Cablevision.
Hours after the crash, those crews remained at the scene, with police keeping a section of Westminster blocked to traffic. A Lewiston police official said CMP planned to drill a new hole and replace the broken pole. The work was expected to continue late into the night.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation.