An accident that police say was caused by a drunk driver led to a massive response in Toms River Sunday night, and left many homeowners without power for a period of time.
According to police spokeswoman Jillian Messina, officers were dispatched at about 8 p.m. to the intersection of Bay Avenue and Tanglewood Road for reports of a motor vehicle accident with two utility poles damaged.
Wilfredo Flores, 47 of Toms River, was traveling east on Bay Avenue, according to police. While negotiating a curve in the roadway, he allegedly answered a call on his mobile phone. As a result, Flores swerved off the roadway to the right, hitting a curb and a utility pole.
The impact of the crash split the pole in half and subsequently damaged a second pole due to excessive wire tension. After impact, Flores allegedly fled east and was subsequently stopped by a concerned citizen. He was arrested and charged with DWI “following an on-scene investigation into his sobriety,” Messina said.
Several neighborhoods on the east side of town were without power throughout the night while Verizon and JCP&L worked to repair the damaged poles. The downed utility poles ignited two brush fires that were quickly extinguished by Toms River Fire Companies 1 and 2. Traffic Lights were out on Bay Avenue between Vaughn Avenue Indian Hill Road for hours.
Flores was charged with DWI, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to report an accident, unregistered vehicle, and a cell phone violation. The vehicle was impounded pursuant to John’s Law.
The accident is being investigated by Toms River Traffic Safety Officer Robert Westfall.