CPD: Accident sends two to hospital, causes blackout

A medical event caused a man to strike an utility pole with his truck Thursday afternoon, sending both the driver and his passenger to the city hospital and causing 3,000 to lose electricity, according to officials.

While driving at 1:39 p.m. on Tompkins Street, a man suffered a medical incident and crashed his 2009 Dodge Ram pickup into the utility pole, said Cortland Police Lt. Michael Strangeway in a phone interview Thursday.

The truck struck the pole on the driver’s side, said city Fire Capt. Colleen Price. “He split the pole in three parts,” Price said, adding the accident occurred kitty-corner to the intersection of York Street.

The man and the woman passenger were both alert and oriented when they were taken to Guthrie Cortland Medical Center, she said. A nurse practitioner from Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse stopped when he came upon the accident and provided the pair with excellent care until emergency services arrived, Price said.

The accident caused a power outage in the city that affected many residences and businesses, as well as the Cortland County Courthouse on Greenbush Street and the Cortland County Office Building on Central Avenue.

The outage stretched from Munson Corners to East Homer, affecting 3,000 customers, according to National Grid.

“It’s a pretty significant section of the grid,” Price noted.

A 65-gallon auxiliary diesel fuel tank in the back of the truck overturned during the accident and spilled about 20 gallons of fuel onto the road, Price noted. City firefighters cleaned the diesel from the road and directed traffic around the area, according to the department.