On Wednesday (5/15) at 5:49 a.m. the electrical service for parts of Macedon along Route 31 was interrupted in what would become a memorable day for residents and businesses.
A pick up truck operated by Michael Keller, age 51, of Palmyra was westbound on Route 31 in the Village of Macedon. The vehicle veered off the south shoulder of the highway striking a mailbox before shearing off a power pole at its base. The pole fell off across Route 31 pulling down major power lines causing a dramatic show of arcing wires and fire that lasted for hours.
Keller’s vehicle then veered back on the highway and hit two bushes on the north side of Route 31, ending up in front of the CVS and Dunkin Donuts stores. Keller, who was unhurt, was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester for a safety check up. He told police he did not know what had happened, but police believe he fell asleep at the wheel.
New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) responded by 7 a.m. to begin the task of untangling the mess of wires that continued the “light show”, and a light rain began to fall.
Macedon Firefighters responded to take control of the scene and cut off the heavy morning traffic snarl at Route 31 and Route 350 on the east side of the Village, and at Canandaigua Road on the west side. The resulting detours caused back-ups for frustrated drivers for hours. “It was a nightmare. Cars were backed up all the way to Alderman Road (on the east). They are still cleaning up the mess today,” said Macedon Police Chief John Colella on Friday morning.
Meanwhile, the McDonald’s Restaurant and Dunkin Donuts locations, along with several other businesses along the busy Route 31 were treated to the light show, but lost more than a half day of business.
According to Wayne County Deputy Tom Baker, the electrical wires melted two large holes in the pavement that required the highway workers to cut and re-patch the roadway. The wires reportedly burned out a safety check on a nearby transformer that lead to the extended arcing. Baker reported that, luckily, gas leaking from Keller’s pick up truck failed to ignite in all the sparking and fire. Power was restored Thursday afternoon and the roadway reopened at 3:15 p.m. Keller was ticketed with Failure to Keep Right and released after a check up at the hospital.
Macedon Village resident John Strong resides on nearby Kemp Drive and captured the pictures seen above. “I just happened to have my phone ready to take picture, when it erupted. It only lasted 2-3 seconds, but you could feel the heat.”
Macedon Police began receiving angry calls from motorists unable to traverse Route 31 en route to their destinations.
Chief Colella summed up the day’s event. “I would hate to be his (Keller’s) insurance company. The loss at Dunkin Donuts alone…”, said Chief Colella.