Driver ID’d In Alcohol Related Crash That Leaves Part Of Century In Dark; Leads To Helicopter Search

May 13, 2008


An alcohol-related one vehicle accident in Century Monday night shut down Highway 29 for several hours and left the north part of the town in the dark, while the Sheriff’’s Department helicopter searched from overhead.

A Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Vinita M. Hertz, 33, of Milton struck a power pole along North Century Boulevard just before 8:30 Monday night. The passenger door of the truck struck the pole, breaking the pole and sending power lines down across Highway 29. The accident happened near the intersection of Henry Street, just south of Radio Shack.

Hertz reportedly told authorities that she was a passenger in the vehicle, not the driver. That prompted a search by rescue crews and then by dogs from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department and the Sheriff’s Department helicopter for a possible second victim. Another person was not located after an extensive search. Hertz was transported from the scene by ambulance to Jay Hospital in serious condition.

Hertz was headed south on North Century Boulevard when she passed out at the wheel, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, and rotated into the utility pole.

The FHP crash report indicates that alcohol was a factor in the crash and that charges are pending. The FHP says Hertz was not wearing a seatbelt.

The broken power pole and downed lines cut power in Century from the power substation at Howard Street and North Century Boulevard, north to the Alabama state line. That left 156 customers without power, according to Gulf Power. Power was fully restored by 3:21 a.m. Tuesday.

By 10:30, traffic on Highway 29 was once again flowing both north and south with some delays as Gulf Power worked to replace the broken pole.

The accident is still under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol.

For more photos from the crash scene, click here.

Pictured above: This truck crashed into this power pole Monday night in Century, plunging the north part of the town into the dark. Laundry is seen scattered around the truck. Pictured below: An Escambia County Sheriff’s Department dog arrives on scene to search for a possible second person from the truck. exclusive photos, click to enlarge.



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