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A semi trailer heading north on Taylor Street unknowingly set off a chain of unfortunate events last Friday afternoon.
A brief power outage was experienced by businesses located around the square, and 911 calls were made to the Ringgold County Sheriff just after 1:40 p.m. Volunteer fire fighters and Ringgold County Sheriff’s Officers responded to reports of and accident, only to find downed power and communication lines, a window broken out of a vehicle, and other debris along Taylor street, between Madison, and Adams.
The Ringgold County Sheriff’s Office chased down eye witness reports and interviewed local business employees to figure out how a semi trailer knocked out a power pole, disrupting power and communication to local businesses. Initially, it was believed that a semi had traveled through an east/west alley behind Still Smokin’ BBQ headed East towards Podium Ink.
The semi was eventually found by Sheriff Rob Haley at the B&M cardboard recycling facility. Unaware of the path of destruction that trailed behind him, the driver stated he had not driven through an alley, and did not hit any power and communication lines.
Video camera footage was then requested from area businesses and law enforcement personnel near the area. Just before 1:40 p.m. on September, 30, a semi was seen by sheriff deputy Chad Hunt traveling North from the Southeast corner of the square, past Lucky Lanes. A few minutes later, the semi was seen again on Hy-Vee security camera footage passing the old Farm and Home building, continuing North.
The semi truck and driver was later detained in West Branch, IA for further investigation on Monday, October 2. Authorities in Johnson County used a drone to photograph the top of the semi. There were scrapes found on the roof, consistent with the downed power pole and severed lines attached to it.
The truck height was measured and found to be between 12.8-13.25’ high, which should have cleared the standard 15’ height for power/communication lines. The investigation is now pointing towards a communication line drooping lower than the standard height required above roadways, prior to the semi traveling North along Taylor St.
Ringgold County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the incident, and had not yet issued a final report as of Tuesday, October 3, 2023.