A fatal car crash in the Florida Keys on Tuesday morning knocked down power lines, caused traffic delays on U.S. 1 — the only major road traveling through the 120-mile island chain — and forced officials to shut down three schools for the day.
The crash happened at 4:20 a.m. in Key Largo at mile marker 98 in the southbound lanes of the highway, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
The Florida Highway Patrol said one woman, the only person in the car, was killed. The FHP did not name or give the age of the woman, who lived in Key West. A brief statement on the crash said only that her car “left roadway striking [a] utility pole.”
Police reopened the southbound lanes around 9:30 a.m., but traffic was backed up for miles until at least noon.
Becky Herrin, spokeswoman for the Monroe County School District, said administrators decided to close Key Largo School, Plantation Key School and Coral Shores High School as a result of the disruption caused by the crash.
“A road closure and subsequent power outages caused by the crash mean potentially lengthy disruptions to those schools’ ability to operate,” Herrin said in a statement.
District officials plan to reopen the schools on Wednesday, Herrin said.
The Florida Keys Electric Cooperative, which provides power to most of the Keys, said the crash caused a broken in-line distribution pole, broken insulators and a primary feeder conductor wire on the ground.
More than 1,240 customers lost power, according to the utility. Crews restored power shortly before 8 a.m.
“FKEC crews were immediately dispatched, but power restoration work was delayed to allow emergency responders space at the scene,” the utility said.