Airborne pickup truck strikes utility pole, four parked cars

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY -- Despite his Dodge truck going airborne an estimated 15-20 feet in the air, striking a utility pole and slamming into four parked cars, Albany's Christopher Allan McIntyre was listed in "good condition" by a Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital official Monday afternoon.

According to Albany Police Department spokeswoman Phyllis Banks, McIntyre was driving northbound on Westover Boulevard, near Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar, when he drove off the road and snapped a utility pole. After hitting the pole, McIntyre's vehicle hit four parked cars in the parking area of the SB&T Bank.

After the 9:03 a.m. accident, McIntyre was transported to Phoebe for treatment.

"I have no additional information regarding McIntyre's condition, and charges are pending until we can determine why he ran off the road," Banks said in an e-mail.

The accident caused the closure of the busy intersection at Westover Boulevard and Old Dawson Road for about 10 hours. Albany Police had five vehicles blocking access to the roadways as utility trucks from Georgia Power, Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission, Albany city Traffic Engineering, Mediacom and UtiliQuest worked to clear and repair the accident scene.

According to witnesses who were working at SB&T, WellCare Health Plans and Peoples South Bank, McIntyre's vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed when his truck came off the paved road. He then careened down a short 3-foot embankment in the WellCare property before going back up another embankment on the other side. This caused a 3-foot-wide and 5-foot-long indentation in the grass.

The truck then went airborne for about 15-20 feet. It split the approximately 30-foot-tall wood utility pole, which was located across the street in the SB&T property, about halfway up. The portion of the wood pole that was buried beneath the ground was snapped completely off, causing signal lights to fall and break on the Old Dawson Road asphalt and electrical wires to dangle.

McIntyre's black Dodge truck, which had a C & C Landscaping company sticker on it, then collided with four empty parked employee cars at SB&T Bank. A 2006 white Mercury Mountaineer took the brunt the the impact as the truck moved the SUV more than one full parking space. The collision shoved the Mountaineer into a red 2004 Ford Taurus, a gray 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe and a black 2006 GMC Envoy.

The impact created about a 6-inch white scrape in the parking lot where the cars had come to a rest after getting pushed together. The five cars, including McIntyre's truck, were towed away by a salvage truck about an hour after the crash. Surprisingly, the truck's engine turned over and was driven into the salvage truck.

"From what we have heard, (McIntyre) had a medical condition and crashed into the light pole," said Celinda Dennison, SB&T senior vice president.

WellCare Administrative Assistant Pinneice Mosely said she and another co-worker happened to be looking out the company's large front window that overlooks the intersection when the accident occurred.

"(It was a) black truck coming from Westover, going full speed, maybe 80-90 mph, hit the curb in the WellCare (lot), went airborne and hit the pole that is now split and hit some cars," Mosely said. "Luckily, no one was in the cars. We see wrecks all the time, minor things. This was pretty bad. All the people ran out from the (SB&T) bank. It was pretty bad. It could've been way worse. I'm glad there were no injuries or anyone walking by."

Peoples South Bank Head Teller Elaine Chapman said she heard the accident when the truck hit the utility pole.

"I heard it when it hit that post, and the truck was just airborne and it hit those four vehicles; just smack," Chapman said. "It scared me to death. I've seen stuff like that on TV. It looked like 'The Dukes of Hazzard.' I'm just glad no one was near those vehicles because with the force it hit, you know they would've been hurt. I hope (the driver's) OK because that was bad."

Phoebe spokeswoman Valerie Benton said McIntyre was listed in "good condition" at 12:44 p.m. Monday.