A sleeping motorist toppled a 300-foot communications tower atop Harrison Ferry Mountain on Tuesday afternoon when he ran off the road and struck a guy wire.
While no one was injured in the crash, the southern part of Warren County was without power or communication for part of Tuesday afternoon as a result of the accident.
Crews from Ben Lomand Connect and Caney Fork Electric were on the scene for most of the afternoon fixing damage to their lines caused by the falling DTC Communications tower.
According to a preliminary report, the tower fell after Steven Rogers Jr., 24, fell asleep behind the wheel as he was heading northbound (toward McMinnville) on Highway 8. The car ran across an open field and slammed into a guy wire. That impact uprooted the guy wire and vibrated the tower with enough force that it destabilized and toppled.
The 300-foot tower slammed to the ground across Old Highway 8. The fallen tower completely blocked the seldom-used secondary road.
In doing so, it took out utility lines for both Ben Lomand and Caney Fork. That triggered blackouts of service for Harrison Ferry residents and residents of adjoining counties who are served by the utilities. They expected to have all their customers back online by the middle of the afternoon following repairs to the severed lines.
The impact to DTC has not been assessed, nor has the cost it will take to replace the huge cell tower.