The early morning collision Wednesday at the intersection of Rosedale Highway and Coffee Road involving a semi-trailer truck tanker cut power to nearly 6,000 customers and left several lanes of traffic closed for about 12 hours.
The accident occurred at 3:35 a.m. when the semi, carrying residual crude oil, collided with a pickup truck. The collision ran the semi into a power pole on the southwest corner of the intersection where it flipped on its side and slipped partially off the road into a ditch before catching fire.
At least one power pole was snapped in half; another, with transmission lines dangling against the overturned tanker, leaned at a crazy angle.
Neither the driver of the semi nor the driver and a passenger in the pickup was injured.
When Kern County Fire crews arrived, crews had to send sporadic sprays of water onto the truck until Pacific Gas and Electric Company crews arrived and shut down power to the transmission lines.
Kern County Fire spokesman Brett Grassi said because of the live power lines, firefighters couldn’t shoot solid streams of water since the electricity could conduct back to the person holding the line. He said firefighters were on the scene for about three hours.
Initially, the intersection was closed and traffic was diverted by Bakersfield police. Parts of the eastbound lanes on Rosedale Highway and southbound lanes on Coffee Road remained closed for about 12 hours. Coffee is nine lanes wide at the intersection, and Rosedale seven.
About 5,700 PG&E customers were without power for several hours. Most PG&E customers had power restored by 6 a.m., but another 1,300 did not regain power until two hours later, said PG&E spokeswoman Katie Allen.
Allen said crews would work through the night to repair the transmission lines and power poles.
The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the BPD at 327-7111.