By Larry Judkins
Glenn County Observer
In the last two weeks, no less than four power poles have been destroyed in northern Glenn County.
The latest pole was taken out in a vehicle accident at about 1:43 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21, in the area of County Roads M and 21.
Fortunato Chavez of Orland was driving a 2000 Nissan Frontier north on Road M, north of Road 24, at about 40 miles per hour, when he fell asleep.
The vehicle drifted across the road to the left and hit a power pole on the west side of Road M, shearing it off.
The Frontier then drifted back to the right, caught fire, and came to a stop roughly 100 yards north of the power pole, on the east shoulder of Road M.
It was reported that the vehicle was fully involved in flames. Chavez, who was the sole occupant of the Frontier, was able to get out of the vehicle.
Orland firefighters, California Highway Patrol officers, Glenn County Sheriff’s deputies, and Orland police officers quickly arrived at the scene and the fire was soon extinguished.
The drooping power lines were still live. PG&E was contacted and arrived at about 1:55 p.m.
About 2,200 residences and businesses were without power. At the scene of the accident, Orland Police Chief Vlach said that Fairview School had no power, and a little later your Glenn County Observer reporter discovered that the Orland Post Office was dark and closed for business, as was the library across the street.
Chavez was wearing his seatbelts and was not injured. The airbags in the Frontier also deployed.
Neither drugs nor alcohol were involved.
The vehicle sustained major front end and fire damage. It was towed from the scene by Bambauer Towing.