Both directions of SR-76 near Valley Center Road reopened

VALLEY CENTER, Calif. - A driver crashed into a power pole on state Route 76 near Pauma Valley on Sunday, which prompted a shutdown of the highway in both directions and apparently knocked out electric service in the area, authorities said.

The driver of the beige Cadillac sedan sheared the pole off the highway near Valley Center Road about 4 p.m. and sent energized wires down to the ground, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Witnesses initially said the male driver was slumped over inside the sedan but was later out of his vehicle, according to the CHP. He sustained only minor injuries, according to Cal Fire.

The crash caused a small spot fire, but it was out by the time firefighters arrived, Cal Fire Capt. Kendall Bortisser said.

Authorities closed state Route 76 in both directions about 100 yards east of Valley Center Road, according to the CHP. Lanes were reopened as of about 7 p.m., according to a tweet by Caltrans.

The vehicle apparently caused a problem with the electric system and power was lost to 650 homes and businesses in Valley Center, Rincon, the La Jolla Indian Reservation, Hellhole Canyon, Mesa Grande, Santa Ysabel, Palomar Mountain and Lake Henshaw areas, according to San Diego Gas & Electric.

Utility officials estimated that service would be restored by about 6:30 p.m.

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