Alleged texting driver plows into power pole on Bethany Home Road

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Yetta Gibson

Posted on January 23, 2014 at 7:25 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 24 at 1:42 PM

PHOENIX -- A driver who allegedly was texting hit a power pole on Bethany Home Road in Central Phoenix early Thursday morning.

It happened just after 3 a.m. at Bethany Home and Ninth Street.

According to police, the 34-year-old suspect fled the scene, but was found at a nearby apartment complex a short time later.

The man was not injured and power to nearby homes was off for only a few minutes.

Video from the scene showed the snapped pole, the top half dangling over the curb lane.

Bethany Home Road was closed in both directions between seventh and 10th streets for several hours while SRP repaired the damaged pole. 3TV traffic reporter Gina Maravilla advised drivers to use Glendale Avenue or Camelback Roads as alternates to get around the scene.

According to Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson, investigators are trying to determine if the driver was impaired or simply distracted. Officers said the man was processed and released.

Investigators believe the man might have been arguing with his girlfriend via text.

According to a recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Distracted.gov, a driver distracted by texting is six times more likely to be involved in a crash than a drunk driver. That’s because a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for about five seconds. It might not sound like much, but if you’re driving 55 mph, you’ll cover the length of an entire football field in those five seconds – without watching the road.

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