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Search continues for driver after fiery crash in Del Paso Heights involving baby in car

What utility crews are doing to restore the power

Power companies have a detailed plan for restoring power after storms. A first step is making sure power isn't flowing through downed lines. Restoration the kicks in based on established priorities. Here's a look.
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Power companies have a detailed plan for restoring power after storms. A first step is making sure power isn't flowing through downed lines. Restoration the kicks in based on established priorities. Here's a look.

Authorities are searching for a woman who crashed a car into a power pole, left a baby in the car and fled the scene in Del Paso Heights on Monday night, police said.

The situation began when police responded to a domestic incident call between a man and woman on Mogan Street in Del Paso Heights around 6:30 p.m., said officer Marcus Basquez, a spokesman for the Sacramento Police Department.

A different woman walked onto the scene, got into a car and drove away, according to Basquez. Police chased her in their vehicles for about a block, then she lost control of the car.

Basquez said police didn’t have full details on how all the people were involved and the investigation is ongoing.

“Unfortunately, the officers at the scene at the time had minimal information to work with,” he said.

A neighbor, Rocio Lopez, saw the crash happen around 6:40 p.m. on North Avenue and Elm Street. She said a small sedan was speeding down North Avenue, a residential street, when it hit a series of speed bumps. It then hit a black pickup truck and spun around, crashing into a power pole.

The pole fell onto a minivan in front of a house, and power lines were strewn across the street. Liquid started leaking from the downed post, and a Hazmat team was called to clean up the spill, said Capt. Keith Wade, spokesman for the Sacramento City Fire Department.

Lopez said the driver of the sedan immediately fled the scene on foot — leaving behind a baby inside the car. The baby’s mother showed up on scene and rescued it before the car caught fire, Basquez said.

It’s unclear how the car caught fire, Wade said.

The subsequent power outage affected nearly 2,000 people, said Lindsay VanLaningham, a spokeswoman for SMUD.

Power for most customers was only out for about an hour, she said. But 300 customers were without power for eight to nine hours.

The power has since been restored, according to VanLaningham.

Mark Villanueva was at a grocery store getting dinner for his family when he received a call that there was a crash in front of his house. His wife, Mia Villanueva, and granddaughter were in the house at the time, he said.

Mia Villanueva heard a loud noise and immediately took her granddaughter to the backyard, she said. After hearing a series of booms, they both climbed the fence and hurried down the street to a neighbor’s house.

She described being “petrified because all the embers were falling in the backyard and we have dry grass.”

Mark Villanueva hurried home to find his family safe, but he was mad.

“I was mad at first because I didn’t know if they were OK,” he said. Then, he said he was mad at the driver for speeding down a residential block. “There’s kids on this block constantly.”

The Villanuevas were allowed back into their home around 8:20 p.m. but were told power wouldn’t be on for several hours.

No one was injured or transported to a hospital, Wade said.

Meghan Bobrowsky, from Scripps College, is a local news reporter for The Sacramento Bee, focusing on breaking news and school funding. She grew up in nearby Davis.
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