FRESNO (KMJ/KMPH) — The woman killed after the vehicle she was in crashed into a power tower in Northwest Fresno has been identified.
Fresno County Coroner’s Office confirmed 29 year old Rita Gray is the victim of the collision south of Shaw and Marks Avenue early Thursday morning.
Locals were startled from their sleep at around 1am, after Fresno Police said a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed crashed into a tower carrying power lines.
“The tower was knocked over, there were wires that arced causing sparks to fall on the adjacent field which started a grass fire,” explained Lieutenant Michael Landon.
Fresno Fire Department and PG&E responded to the scene, to both control the flames and conduct urgent repairs on the damaged line.
The investigation into the crash is ongoing, and a specific cause of death is yet to be officially announced.
The crash cut power for a vast area of Northwest Fresno, and even knocked out traffic signals. Initial reports stated 75,000 customers were without electricity. That number fell as crews repaired the damage. Officials expect all customers to have service restored by Thursday’s end.
“It looks like the tower will have to be removed,” explained PG&E’s Evelyn Escalera.
“Unfortunately it’s not usable anymore so they are working on a plan to get it safely removed from the area.”
It is unknown exactly how the tower was able to come down.
“These towers are sturdy when they’re placed there but obviously with accidents and things like that, it could happen.”
Numerous businesses in @ShopFigGarden still closed after NW Fresno’s power outage this morning. @PGE4Me still working on fixing the damage following a vehicle crashing into a tower near Shaw and Marks. More on @KMJNOW. pic.twitter.com/KPYpiV4ujz
— Dom McAndrew (@DomMcAndrew) May 17, 2018
Hear the report from KMJ’s Dominic McAndrew as it aired: