Junction City semi-truck event to no longer allow allow retracting of booms after mishap

Utility crews restoring power lines the morning after the collision. (SBG photo)

JUNCTION CITY, Ore. – A messy scene in Junction City is all clear now.

A heavy equipment tow truck accidentally knocked down telephone poles at Saturday night’s Truck Function in Junction event.

It happened at the cross-section between 16th and Ivy streets.

Truck Function in Junction is an annual community event that showcases trucks.

“We had a great turnout this year. Crews took off and did good it was going good until just about 35 minutes before the end,” said Daniel Alley, Event Coordinator.

The event ended abruptly when a rising boom on a large tow truck snapped telephone poles like twigs, destroyed transformers, and blew out multiple utility circuit breakers.

Word spread quickly to event organizers and law enforcement.

“Where and when, and is there anybody hurt was my main concern," Alley said. "Nobody was hurt, and that was my concern being that they said the power lines were across the tow truck.”

Police said, remarkably, nobody was hurt and nobody was to blame.

“There was an equipment malfunction with the remote that operates the boom. There was no human error that I am aware of. I understand it was just an equipment error causing the boom to extend and the driver wasn’t aware,” said Officer Ken Jackson with Junction City Police Department.

According to Pacific Power & Light, 151 of their customers were initially without power.

The area was temporarily closed to traffic while workers removed low-hanging lines.

On Sunday, utility crews continued to clean up the scene and restored power to all affected homes.

“I was a commercial driver myself at one time," said Officer Jackson. "I know there’s always checking your equipment and doing regular maintenance and just being familiar with the equipment that you have, always watching your load and things like that.”

Truck Function in Junction coordinators said they plan on making a permanent rule for future events: no retracting the booms during the show.

“That’s part of this deal; you live and you learn. Every year little things pop up,” said Alley.

Police deemed the whole situation accidental.

They said alcohol was not a factor and there was no criminal negligence or wrong-doing on part of the driver.

No citations or charges were issued.

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