Car crash Saturday causes Pullman power outage

Jan. 24—A car crash caused a power outage that lasted hours and affected about 130 Avista customers in Pullman this weekend.

Officers at the Pullman Police Department responded to a collision on Orchard Drive around 2:30 a.m. Saturday. When police arrived they found a silver BMW convertible that had left the roadway, crashed into and knocked down a power pole, said Aaron Breshears, operations commander at the department.

The driver, now identified as 23-year-old Washington State University student Swadheen Bhowal, allegedly fled the scene on foot before officers arrived, said Breshears. While the agency continued to investigate the scene, Bhowal turned himself in to the department a few hours after the crash. Bhowal was arrested and charged with suspicion of driving under the influence, reckless driving and hit-and-run, according to public records.

There were at least four to five passengers in the vehicle during the crash, according to Breshears. The department could not get an accurate estimate since some left the scene after the collision. Breshears said there were no reported injuries, which he said was "a miracle" considering the extent of the damage and speed needed to down a power pole. He added a vehicle would have to be well in excess of the posted 25 mph speed limit to take down a power pole.

The fallen pole created a power outage for residents around the area. According to an Avista representative, about 130 customers were affected by this outage that lasted from 2:30 a.m. to noon Saturday. The representative said the pole was to damaged to salvage and it had to be removed and replaced with a new pole.

Orchard Drive was closed while Avista worked on repairs and police investigated the crash. Breshears said the road was reopened Saturday afternoon when it was cleared and the pole was fixed. He said Cove Way, a road next to Orchard, is closed for reasons not relating to the collision, as crews are performing utility work on sewer lines.

Pearce can be reached at or on Twitter @Emily_A_Pearce.