A Fresno police officer and three other people were injured when three power poles fell at the scene of a traffic crash Wednesday morning.
The officer, later identified as Mark Bishop, suffered a fractured pelvis and was expected to undergo surgery at Community Regional Medical Center on Thursday, Lt. Mike Brogdon said. Bishop’s injuries initially were reported as minor. Three people in the car that ran into the pole were also hurt, and were taken to Community Regional for treatment of moderate injuries, Brogdon said.
Initial reports indicated two officers had been injured.
The crash triggered a fire when a transformer exploded and cut power to more than 2,000 PG&E customers in central Fresno. The number of customers affected dropped to less than 300 as of 8:15 a.m. PG&E expected to have all power restored early Thursday morning. Cedar Avenue between Dayton and Shields avenues was expected to remain closed until early Thursday while PG&E repairs the damaged poles.
Brogdon said the incident began when a 27-year-old Rudy Del Toro of Fresno driving north on Cedar Avenue slammed into the power pole about 6:30 a.m. on Fountain Way, north of Cedar and Shields avenues. Emergency workers, including police, fire and other rescue personnel quickly arrived to help the occupants of the car, including 27-year-old Kristin Jeffrey and her 10-year-old son.
Minutes later, a Vallarta supermarket truck driver pulling a trailer and heading south on Cedar snared power lines damaged in the crash and snapped the pole, which struck the officer as it crashed to the ground. The trailer also snapped the top half of a power pole across the street and a third power pole on Fountain Way that then caught fire.
Lt. Rob Beckwith, who was at the scene Wednesday, said it was possible that the big rig driver hit the wires while looking at the initial crash.
The transformer spilled oil into the street and hazardous material teams were called in as part of the cleanup.
Brogdon said the injured officer was hit by a pole across his lower back and hip area. A police cadet, Ryan Hudec, who was with Officer Bishop escaped injury.
Two police cars and an ambulance were also damaged by falling poles. Emergency medical workers were inside the ambulance when it was struck, but were in the rear section and were not hurt, Brogdon said.