Crash leads to power outage in San Joaquin County

More than 5,000 residents in Valley Home, Ripon and Escalon were without electricity for more than an hour early Wednesday after a car went off a road about four miles north of town and knocked down an electrical transmission tower, authorities said.

The driver of a Mitsubishi Eclipse, 23-year-old Jesus Mata from Escalon, suffered major injuries and was taken by ambulance to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, said officer Angel Arceo, a CHP spokesman.

Officers arrested Mata on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, Arceo said.

He said two female passengers in the Mitsubishi suffered minor injuries and were taken by ambulance to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto. Their names and ages were not available.

The driver and the passengers were wearing seat belts.

The crash occurred shortly after 2 a.m. in the 25000 block of Dodds Road, just west of Escalon Bellota Road.Arceo said the Mitsubishi was heading east on Dodds at a high rate of speed when the car went off the south side of the road, crashed through a fence and struck the transmission tower.

The driver and the passengers did not suffer any electrical shock injuries. While the 75-foot PG&E tower fell, the power lines did not fall to the ground said PG&E spokeswoman Nicole Tam.

Tam said about 5,590 customers were affected by the power outage, but more than 5,400 customers had power restored by 3:30 a.m. She said 175 customers remained without power until 8:30 a.m.