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Driver makes narrow escape



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Both airbags were deployed by the force of the impact, yet the driver was able to walk away from this Fiske Street crash Thursday night. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
July 23, 2009
SOUTHBRIDGE — People all over western Southbridge saw a blue flash and/or heard "an explosion" Thursday night when a car coming down slick, curving Cliff Street severed a phone pole.

The unidentified young male driver, however, was able to walk away, witnesses reported.

"He called me and he was freaking out," said a friend who declined to give her name. She said he's basically OK, but went to the hospital by ambulance to be checked out.

"All he said was, 'Oh my god. I crashed my girlfriend's grandmother's car,'" said witness Christine Snyder, who noted the man said he didn't want medical aid, but someone had already called the ambulance.

His car, a Subaru, sustained significant front-end damage. The phone pole across from the end of Fiske Street was severed, left dangling off the ground above Cliff Street by the tension of its own power lines.

"That was scary," said Beth Dumas, a neighbor. "I saw the blue flash from my bedroom window and the house shook. … How do we still have power?"

Her roommate Ashley Earnest agreed, noting this area frequently sees accidents. Cars sometimes flip over going around the corner and sometimes even jump the guardrail and fly downhill.

Snyder said the street needs better lighting, reflectors on the guardrails and other safety features. Even with the nrrowness, she often hears people speeding up the road.

"You never know who's on the other side and can't see [around the curve]," she said.

Officer Richard Rossi said his wife had called from Sturbridge to report a power outage just afterward, and witnesses said their power failed briefly. A National Grid spokesman said the company did not receive any calls about outages, but police said the neighborhood would lose power while the pole was fixed.

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