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Van Nuys RV crash triggers power outage; driver arrested for DUI

July 3, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A suspected drunk driver crashed his RV into a Van Nuys apartment building, knocking out power to more than 1,000 residents.

The incident happened shortly after midnight Wednesday at the intersection of Sepulveda Boulevard and Clark Street.

Police say the driver of the 1973 Tioga RV lost control, crossed Sepulveda Boulevard, slammed into a power pole, ricocheted off the building, careened down an alley way and rammed into a fence. The RV struck a line of 30 vehicles before ending up in a pile of rubble at the end of the alley.

Authorities said the driver received minor injuries, and he was expected to be OK. He had several dogs inside the RV at the time of the crash - three pit bulls and a Chihuahua. They were not injured and taken away by animal control officials.

No one else was injured, but the power was knocked out for the building involved in the crash as well as several surrounding structures. All power has since been restored.

Residents were jolted awake from the crash.

"When we heard it, it almost sounded like a ton of metal dropped onto the pavement or something, and it was just being dragged," said area resident Tom Nagy. "When we came out here, then we realized that obviously he was scraping right up against that building."

Building inspectors arrived on scene and yellow-tagged the front part of the building. The top and bottom floors of the apartment were evacuated.

Capt. Robert Bates with the Los Angeles Fire Department said the driver told him his gas pedal got stuck.

The driver was later identified as 59-year-old Lawrence Wright of Sherman Oaks.

"He actually surprisingly looked perfectly fine. The dogs seemed perfectly fine for the amount of crash it was, because the camper just like basically collapsed," said area resident Brandon Nagy.

Police say this is one accident where the cleanup will be extensive.

Despite the large-scale damage, Wright is facing a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence - not felony - because no one else was injured in the crash.


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