Powerless day for Colquitt County residents - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Powerless day for Colquitt County residents

Colquitt County - A semi-truck driver carrying hot water heaters says hot coffee caused him to lose control of his truck just before six Monday morning, knocking down a light pole and knocking out power to Colquitt County.

The entrance to Tifton highway was blocked off, preventing drivers from coming up on a mess of snapped power lines and fallen power polls.

EMA Director, Russell Moody says, "Makes it interesting. Get a lot of people trying to get the power back up and make sure the roads are safe for people to travel, and it happened at six o'clock this morning so you had the rush hour of everybody getting to school, getting to work."

52-year old Clarence Klinge of Middleville, Michigan told troopers he choked on a cup of coffee and was coughing when he lost control of the truck, but, luckily, he wasn't injured.

Moody says, "Nobody hurt. That's the best thing. Very fortunate."

Some people were probably a little late getting to their destinations this morning, although Brian Hall woke up a little earlier than planned. He says, "Loud bang, and looked out the window and it looked like lightning. I just thought we were having real bad weather or something."

But the crash did more than cut the power at Robison's one stop, it also cut business. Leonard Robison says, "It hurts. Can't do nothing, cause everything's computerized." From Gas pumps, to the register, Robison's only did about $20 of business from 6 AM until after 11AM, when the store's power was restored.

Robison says, "Oh yeah, it's a big sigh of relief. We don't realize how much we depend on power, sure don't."

The driver of the truck has been charged with failure to maintain lane. All Colquitt EMC members had power restored within 15 minutes of the wreck. All but one of Georgia power's customers are expected to have power restored by about 6 PM Monday.

posted by karen.collier@walb.com