Rifle teen uninjured in Sunday crash | PostIndependent.com

Rifle teen uninjured in Sunday crash

Ryan Hoffman
Xcel Energy customers in Rifle are asked to conserve electricity as the company works to repair damage caused by an early morning vehicle crash Sunday.
Ryan Hoffman / Citizen Telegram |

The teenage driver who crashed a pickup truck into a power pole, which left most of Rifle without power for multiple hours early Sunday, walked away uninjured.

A 17-year-old male Rifle resident was driving a 2013 Chevy 1500 pickup truck westbound on Highway 6 when the vehicle ran off the right side of the road and struck a power pole around 4 a.m. Sunday, according to Colorado State Patrol.

The driver, who was the only person in the vehicle at the time, left the scene — possibly to find help — but was later returned, said Nate Reid, CSP public information officer.

He was charged with reckless driving, a misdemeanor.

“I would agree that there have been more outages, but they’ve all been caused by something different. If it were something systemic we would have similar causes.”Michelle Aguayospokesperson for Xcel Energy

The crash caused substantial damage to an Xcel Energy power pole and left 6,300 customers in Rifle without power, Michelle Aguayo, a spokesperson for Xcel Energy in Colorado, said on Sunday.

Service was restored to nearly all of the affected customers by 4 p.m.

But the incident led the company to send out a notification asking customers to curb electric usage through most of Sunday.

The request to conserve electric usage came as temperatures climbed into the mid 90s, which sparked concerns about possibly overwhelming the system during the altered delivery procedure. The call to conserve ended at 7 p.m.

Sunday’s power outage was the most recent in an unusually frequent string of recent outages. In early May, an outage lasted approximately 10 minutes and reportedly stretched from Grand Junction to Glenwood Springs.

Later that month, approximately 5,000 Xcel customers in the Rifle area lost power for about 17 minutes after a bird flew into power lines.

The frequency of the outages caught the attention of residents on the Rifle COnnected Facebook page, where several people said they were without power for three hours Sunday.

Aguayo agreed the number of recent outages was abnormal, but she said they are not an indication of issues with Xcel’s system.

“I would agree that there have been more outages, but they’ve all been caused by something different,” Aguayo said. “If it were something systemic we would have similar causes.”

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