Merrimack Street in Methuen shut after car hits pole

Courtesy photoA car driven by a driver suspected of being under the influence of drugs hit a car and then a utility pole on Merrimack Street Monday evening, tying up traffic for hours.

METHUEN — A person suspected of driving under the influence of drugs hit one car on Merrimack Street Monday afternoon during rush hour, then slammed into a utility pole in front of the Sons of Italy Club, severing the pole and knocking live wires into the street.

Police Chief Joseph Solomon said the accident, which occurred just before 7 p.m., created a huge traffic jam on Merrimack Street, also known as Route 113, for commuters heading north to Haverhill or south into Methuen.

There were no injuries, although the person who hit the pole was treated with two doses of Narcan and taken to the hospital, but not for injuries from the accident, according to Methuen police Sgt. Scott Lever.

The utility pole fell into the middle of the street, blocking traffic. National Grid responded but was waiting for a crane to remove the old pole away and install a new pole.

As a result, the road is expected to be blocked off for several hours.

Two buildings, including the Sons of Italy, have had power cut. Lever said the Sons of Italy was having a function at time. 

Traffic coming from Haverhill was being diverted into the Whirlaway parking lot at 500 Merrimack St. and sent back north to Haverhill. All eastbou8nd traffic from 495 was being diverted up to Pleasant Valley St. to Route 213.

Lever said the incident started when a person called 911 and said his car had just been sideswiped by a driver who then drove into a pole.

The driver of the first car was not injured, he said.

"Once the pole is out of the road, it will be reopened," Lever said. "Traffic is a nightmare. It happened right at prime time – and it is a Monday. A great way to start the week."

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