UPDATED: Over 4,000 Lose Power in Mercer Island Town Center Car Crash

A traffic accident at 77th Ave. SE and SE 27th St. pushed a car over an electrical relay box, prompting utility workers to shut down a power substation to rescue her.

Update, Tuesday, 7:30 a.m.: It looks like the Mercer Island Fire Department has issued a press release regarding the accident with some additional/more accurate informatiion that I could gather at the scene yesterday. Here's the link: 

Update, 7 p.m.: As of 4 p.m. all power has been restored to Mercer Island, according to PSE spokesperson Julia Hughes.

A total of 4,349 residential and business customers were affected at the peak of the outage.

The outage occurred in two waves: The first group of outages occurred in the Town Center immediately following the accident after a car ran over a "switch can" — an above-ground electric utility cabinet that holds switches that distribute electricity from underground power cables servicing Mercer Island with power. The second wave was when PSE de-energized the substation feeding the cable so the woman could exit her car without fear of electrocution, said Hughes.

"It was always a matter of restoring power in a safe manner," she said.

Update, 3:30 p.m.: 1,000 PSE customers remain without power after a car crash in Mercer Island Town Center. Utility workers de-energized a power substation supplying electricity to Mercer Island's North-end, including most of the Town Center and First Hill.

PSE was able to restore power to most of those affected — 3,143 customers — by 2:13 p.m., a little over an hour after the accident occurred. Another 100 had their power restored at 2:25 p.m. As of 3 p.m., approximately 1,000 customers remain without power. The utility says the remaining outages are widely scattered and they are working block-by-block to restore service.

The woman trapped by the electricity was able to escape from the vehicle, unharmed and under her own power, once the power was shut off, according to . The other woman involved in the accident driving a gray Toyota Tundra suffered minor injuries due to the impact of the crash.


Original Story: Over 4,000 customers — including most businesses in Mercer Island's Town Center — lost power Monday afternoon after a traffic accident at 77th Ave. SE and SE 27th St. pushed a car over an electrical relay box, prompting utility workers to shut down a power substation to rescue her.

Mercer Island Police Commander Leslie Burns said the accident occurred around 1 p.m. when a woman driving a gold-colored four-door sedan driving northbound on 77th Avenue SE went through a red light. A Toyota Tundra driving westbound on SE 27th Street collided into the side of the car in the intersection and puched the car into several electric utility relay boxes near the entrance to and on the northwest corner.

Mercer Island Police contacted electric utility provider PSE once it became clear the woman's car was not grounded and the woman could be electrocuted. 

The power outage cut off power to over 4,000 customers, according to PSE.

This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned to Mercer Island Patch for updates to this story.

Jerry Gropp Architect AIA June 25, 2012 at 10:52 PM
. I was at the UPS Store across the street when this happened shutting down every- thing near. Shows how fragile things are. J-
Kendall Watson June 26, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Story updated Jeff and luckly no serious injuries — however, the victim in the crash did suffer minor cuts and bruises. She was the one not-at-fault driving the truck. The accident occurred at one of the new stoplights installed in Town Center. No word yet on the cause of the accident.
Thomas Imrich June 26, 2012 at 03:42 AM
One minor "switch can" impact takes out power for 4000 customers today, ...an electric power feed shorts to a water main and gas main several weeks ago (on 63rd Street), also taking out power,... and Mercer Island is supposedly ready for a 9.0+ seismic event ??? Dream on. Meanwhile we waste up to a million on Road Diet???
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA June 26, 2012 at 04:08 AM
. Tom- I've come around on the aforesaid "RoadDiet"- It may well be the way to go. Island Crest will be more of a piece- end to end. For all the years I've been driving it, it's been two roads- butted together. J-


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