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Thursday's blackout blamed on car accident

A woman, who officers say had been drinking before she hit a power pole, is blamed for blacking out part of Merced late Thursday.

Power to 4,400 Merced County homes went out at about 10:50 p.m. when Taneisha Caradine’s white 1993 Oldsmobile hit a power pole at Highway 59 and Gerard Avenue, California Highway Patrol spokesman Shane Ferriera said.

Caradine, 18, was arrested on a suspicion of misdemeanor drunken driving and was booked into the Merced County jail with minor injuries, Ferriera said. She was released Friday morning.

Bideon Polk was driving a big rig that suffered front-end damage from the wreck. The a 57-year-old Palmdale resident received minor injuries, Ferriera said.

The power lines fell across the road, and electricity had to be re-routed through the grid while crews repaired the damage, PG&E spokeswoman Nicole Tam said.

“It’d be like a detour on a street,” she explained. “You use a different avenue to get to your destination.”

Just after midnight, PG&E restored power to 4,160 residents, but it wasn’t until about 9 a.m. when the remaining 300 residents could turn their lights back on, she said.

Reporter Scott Jason can be reached at 209 385-2453 or