Man arrested after crash, power outage

A Soldotna man has been arrested after troopers found he collided with a power pole on Funny River Road, which caused nearly 700 homes to lose power Tuesday morning.

Alaska State Troopers received a report from 36-year-old Jerry Dourney around 5 a.m. Tuesday that someone had stolen his tan 1999 Lexus from the parking lot at Safeway, according to an online dispatch report.

“Minutes later, (Alaska State Troopers) dispatch received another report that a tan Lexus was found on fire near Mile 16 Funny River Road,” troopers wrote in the dispatch.

Lt. Dane Gilmore, deputy commander of the E Detachment which covers the Kenai Peninsula, said multiple people called the flaming vehicle in as they were in the area. When troopers investigated, they found the vehicle had struck a power pole near mile 12 of Funny River Road, “knocking it over,” they wrote.

This caused a power outage for 691 homes in the Funny River and Scout Lake areas, said Homer Electric Association Director of Member Relations Joe Gallagher. The outage began at about 4:40 a.m., he said., and power was back on just after 8 a.m.

Dourney was arrested and taken to Wildwood Pretrial Facility after an interview with troopers revealed he had provided false information about the incident, according to the dispatch. He was arrested for driving under the influence, making a false report, failure to give immediate notice of an accidence, misconduct involving weapons in the fourth degree and criminal mischief in the third degree, according to the dispatch.

The power outage hit 296 homes in the Funny River area and 395 homes in the Scout Lake area, Gallagher said. The pole was severely damaged by the collision, Gallagher said, though HEA employees responded to the area and stabilized it.

“They will have to replace the power pole,” he said, explaining that it should only take a day and that the crew can keep power on while it works.

“The remainder of Dourney’s vehicle” was towed away from the scene, according to the dispatch.

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