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Car 1, pole 0 after collision

Posted: Tuesday, April 11, 2000

A highway light pole is big enough to stop most cars.

However, Monday morning, a Soldotna driver barely slowed down after shearing off a pole along the Kenai Spur Highway.

John Rheuby, 75, received a citation for negligent driving after his misadventure. He was uninjured.

Rheuby's 1995 Lincoln Town Car turned off the road about 11:30 a.m. at what police characterized as a high rate of speed. It traveled 300 feet on the sod parallel to the highway, knocked the pole into the road, returned to the highway, ran a red light, started to run a second red light, braked and then backed into a following vehicle.

That vehicle was driven by James Moen, an Alaska State Trooper with Fish and Wildlife protection, who witnessed the original accident.

"Then we showed up," said Kenai Patrol Officer John Watson.

The pole, by Princess Street across from Kenai Central High School, sustained an estimated $4,000 in damage and basically was destroyed, he said.

Watson estimated damage to Rheuby's car at about $5,000.

Police tested Rheuby for alcohol, concluded he had not consumed any and released him at the scene after issuing the citation.

"I really couldn't tell you what the cause of the accident was," Watson said.

The incident was unusual, but police do not plan a further investigation, he said.

"We're just lucky nobody got hurt," Watson said.



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