Nearly 100 Sparta residents experienced a post-Superstorm Sandy power outage on Nov. 11. But the loss of power was unrelated to the storm and instead the result of an alleged drunk driver crashing into a utility pole, Sparta Police Sgt. John-Paul Beebe said.
Rory Mahon, 20, of Green Township, was charged with underage DWI after Beebe said he crashed his white Ford F-150 pickup truck into a pole at the intersection of North Shore Trail and Sparta Avenue around 8 p.m. He was also charged with failure to maintain a single lane of travel, failure to report an accident, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage and unlawful possession of alcohol in a motor vechicle.
Power was restored just before midnight to the residents on the western side of the town who experienced the outage caused by the crash.
According to Beebe, police responded to the intersection after several callers reported the crash. Witnesses told police the truck brought down the pole and wires and the driver allegedly fled the scene before pulling into the Stop & Shop parking lot.
Cpl. Robert Fraser went to the parking lot and found the damaged truck with Mahon standing in front. The truck was running, Beebe said, and sustained heavy front-end damage, was leaking engine fluids, had two airbags deployed and had a part of the wooden utility pole coming out of the radiator. Mahon told Fraser that the damage to his vehicle was sustained in a previous crash in Hackettstown and that his airbags had deployed while he was driving in Sparta.
Beebe said Mahon denied crashing into the utility pole. Officers said they saw two cans of beer, a bottle of wine and a small bottle of whiskey in the vehicle. Mahon allegedly denied owning the alcohol.
After failing a field sobriety test, Beebe said Mahon was arrested and transported to the Sparta police station. His vehicle was impounded and he was released. He is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 19 at 6 p.m.