A power pole is downed early Friday afternoon at Pleasant Street and East Avenue in Lewiston. According to witnesses at the scene, the male driver and a passenger were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — Traffic on East Avenue was snarled for hours Friday after a car struck a CMP pole, bringing wires and traffic lights into the street.

Police said James Knights, 31, of Lewiston, was driving at East Avenue and Pleasant Street about 12:30 p.m. when an apparent mechanical failure caused his car to strike the pole.

A passenger, Cynthia Knights, suffered a minor injury and was taken to Central Maine Medical Center to be evaluated.

The crash brought the pole down just a foot from Knights’ 2008 Mazda. Wires came down with it and the lights controlling traffic at the busy intersection were left dangling just a few feet from the road.

Fire crews freed the couple from the car, but cleanup in the area was expected to last for hours. By 3:30 p.m., workers were waiting for a crew from DigSafe before they could begin work to repair or replace the pole.

Traffic lights remained out around the crash site and police were encouraging travelers to avoid the area if possible. The intersection, in the area where Bartlett Street crosses East Avenue and becomes Pleasant Street, is one of the busiest in the city.

At 5:30 p.m., the intersection remained closed as repair work continued, causing further traffic snarls as commuter traffic rolled through the area.

Police were still investigating the wreck later Friday, but said charges are not likely. Early indications, according to Lewiston police Lt. David St. Pierre, were that a mechanical issue with the car may have contributed to the crash.

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