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321 closed twice in 3 days

February 17, 2011

A portion of U.S. 321 was closed for the second time in three days Thursday after crashes downed power lines between Newton and Maiden.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation closed U.S. 321 Business starting at Prison Camp Road just south of Newton after a truck crashed into a power pole about 2:45 p.m. Thursday.

North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper J.S. Tabet said Stephen Bates, 58, of Newton, was traveling northbound near the 2500 block of U.S. 321 Business when his Ford F-150 truck went left of center and crashed into a city of Maiden power pole.

The impact of the truck brought down power lines, and the truck came to rest on the southbound side of the roadway, entangled in downed lines.

Emergency responders on the scene advised Bates to stay in the vehicle until they could determine if any live wires were wrapped around the truck. The truck's two front wheels straddled one line, while another line dangled near the truck's passenger-side mirror.

Maiden Public Works employees arrived on the scene minutes later and advised Bates there were no live wires around the vehicle. Catawba County EMS said Bates refused medical treatment on the scene.

The Highway Patrol hasn't determined what caused the crash, and the incident remains under investigation.

This is the second time in three days that Highway Patrol was called to handle a vehicle crash and downed power lines about three miles away from where Thursday's crash occurred. Newton and Duke Power customers were without power for several hours Tuesday while crews worked to repair the downed lines.

A detour Thursday required drivers to turn right on Prison Camp Road, turn left on St. James Church Road, turn left onto Smyre Farm Road and then turn right onto U.S. 321 Business. Drivers heading south on U.S. 321 Business were asked to reverse those directions. The NCDOT estimated the detour would last until 6 p.m. Thursday.

Maiden Fire Department, Catawba County EMS and NCSHP responded to the crash.

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