Mon Power and DOH crews were still on scene Tuesday at noon following a wreck that occurred Monday around 7:30 p.m.

Police: Man who hit power pole Monday said he swerved to miss animal

TENNERTON – A driver told police he swerved to miss an animal crossing the road and caused the wreck that shut down part of Route 20 in both directions Monday evening and part of Tuesday morning.

Investigating officer Cpl. T.A. Menendez with the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police said Adam Wayne Thompson, 21, of Buckhannon, was traveling north on Route 20 at about 7:20 p.m. Monday, April 5 near the old armory when an animal crossed the road in front of him and he swerved to miss it.

Thompson, who was driving a 2016 Kia Forte, subsequently hit the gravel drive before High Life Lounge and struck a power pole head-on, breaking one pole entirely and causing others to lean over the road.

This red Kia Forte snapped one power pole in half, causing several others to lean over the road during a one-vehicle wreck Monday. / Photo by Brian Bergstrom

“He said he had seen an animal – probably a cat – run out and he swerved to miss it,” Menendez said Tuesday. “That’s what he told me. He broke the one pole clear off.”

Upshur EMS transported Thompson to the hospital for minor injuries and he was treated and released soon after, the trooper said.

Menendez said he’s still investigating but has so far charged the driver with expired registration, expired MVI and no insurance. Thompson was not impaired or under the influence of any substances, he added.

“I do want to put a reminder out to the public that it’s important to keep your (vehicle) insurance up to date, because he let his insurance lapse, and no insurance is actually a jailable offense,” Menendez said. “There’s jail time and a fine involved, so he’s being charged with that, which will maybe serve as some restitution for Mon Power and the DOH (West Virginia Division of Highways), both of which have spent a lot of time and money on this incident.”

As of noon on Tuesday, Mon Power crews were still on scene fixing power poles, and although traffic was moving in both directions, vehicles in the northbound lane were being routed around workers. Following the wreck Monday night, emergency personnel had closed both lanes and were diverting traffic from the area roughly encompassing GoMart to Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School.

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