Police: Bardstown Road closed for hours after drunk driver slams into utility pole

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It's a major artery in Louisville, but a suspected drunk driver crash forced Bardstown Road to be closed for several hours, including the morning commute, as crews had to replace a major power line.

As of 1 p.m., one lane in each direction had been reopened, but traffic is moving slowly around construction cones and repair crews.

Metro Police closed Bardstown Road between Eastern Parkway and Edenside Avenue around 1 a.m. Tuesday after a suspected driver slammed into a major utility pole. Police said it could be mid-afternoon before repairs are complete and the road completely reopens.

Police say 23-year-old David Dolherty had a blood alcohol level of .205 when he hit the pole - that's nearly three times the legal limit. Court documents indicated he caused at least $1,000 in damages when the impact of the crash snapped the pole like a matchstick.

LG&E crews were called to the scene, and the heavy work began around 5 a.m. That's when heavy chain saws had to be used to cut through concrete.

The impact of the crash caused the thick wooden pole to snap in two: the bottom half left in place by the concrete that anchors it; the top half was left hanging by threads, literally.  The dozens of wires that are mounted to the pole actually kept it in place.

For hours, workers performed the delicate dance of removing each line from the old pole and then installing it onto the new pole. That work continued through the morning rush hour and into the afternoon - affecting both commuters and pedestrians.

"I just come up Eastern Parkway and take a left onto Bardstown Road," said Michael Lucchese, who walks to a bus stop.

But walking that route to get to the bus stop wasn't an option, as the mess meant an unmarked change.

"This morning I had to look where the traffic was going and hopefully the bus will be stopping here to pick me up," Lucchese said.

Thankfully he made it, while others came running to catch the bus at the makeshift stop. Then the real challenge began.

The bus doesn't normally turn there and had some growing pains with its new route. For others, they had to take a new route just to get that all important morning coffee.

"I tried to take a left coming down Eastern and noticed that it was shut down so I had to take another route and came up this alley over here," said Jordan Savage, who lives nearby.

While the detour added a few minutes to his morning commute, Savage was just thankful that was his only inconvenience.

"We actually lost power for a bit last night, but nothing this morning that I noticed," Savage said.

The mess cut power to only a handful of customers, like the Valvoline service garage at the intersection of Bardstown and Eastern Parkway.

Everyone's just thankful that no one was hurt and that the detours are just for the day.

"A different start to your morning," Savage laughed.

Dolherty is being charged three violations, including DUI and no insurance.  The police report states:

"A witness stated that he observed vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed south bound on Bardstown Road.  Witness state that shortly after vehicle passed, lights on Bardstown Road went out.  When officer arrived to dispatched accident, listed vehicle was in the middle of Bardstown Road with severe front end damage.  The light pole in front of 1440 Bardstown had been completely uprooted from the ground.  Subject admitted to being driver."

No one was hurt in the crash.

LG&E didn't report any significant power outages Tuesday morning.

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