Power went out in much of Malibu Saturday morning when a car, possibly driven by a drunken driver, took down a power pole in Malibu Canyon.
The main road between Calabasas and Malibu was to remain closed all day. L.A. County firefighters said they stationed a paramedic helicopter near Malibu today in case it was needed to ferry patients around the blocked road, one of four major routes into and out of the beachside city.
Deputies posted a photo of a small white car, with a crumpled front end and a severed wooden pole where the hood ornament should be.
The CHP was handling the investigation, and could not verify initial reports from the county that the car had been driven by a drunken person.
The early-morning single-vehicle crash took down a wooden power pole carrying a 66,000-volt feeder circuit that supplies much of Malibu with its primary electric supply. The pole also carries optic lines for five wireless companies, according to state records.
"Expect major traffic delays in Malibu," the department's Malibu/Lost Hills station advised, as the road closure was expected to put a strain on other routes to the beach on a hot weekend day, deputies said. Some traffic lanes remain closed for long-term construction projects on Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica, and Kanan-Dume Road north of Malibu.
Malibu Canyon Road was closed indefinitely to northbound traffic at Civic Center Way in Malibu, and southbound traffic on Malibu Canyon-Las Virgenes Road was blocked at Mulholland Highway in Calabasas.
A power company spokesman said 3,363 customer accounts were initially the dark. Paul Netter, a Southern California Edison spokesman, said switching of remaining circuits allowed electric service to be restored at all but 442 accounts as of 8:22 a.m.
No estimated repair time was possible yet for the 442 businesses and homes, Netter said. But deputies said they were advised that replacing the pole and restringing the wires would continue into Saturday night.
No one was injured in the crash, which took place on narrow and twisting Malibu Canyon Road about two miles up the canyon from Malibu, a sheriff's dispatcher said.
There were conflicting reports about the time of the mishap, with lights going out in Malibu at about 6:45 a.m. and sheriff's dispatchers reporting the crash was at 7:30.
Some signals went out on PCH, as far east as the Getty Villa Museum. Others functioned normally.