Crashes, live power lines shut down Interstate 5 in North Seattle

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SEATTLE -- A neighborhood in North Seattle and drivers on Interstate 5 had a rough Saturday morning after power pole lines shut down the freeway.

Police say the power lines came crashing down onto I-5 after a car hit a power pole on NE 125th and 5th Avenue NE.  Both sides on I-5 were closed for almost three hours.

Patti Christiansen was watering her plants when she heard the crash and then saw the power pole split in half.

"And all of the sudden there was a huge explosion and I turned around and that white transformer, whatever it was, was flying off. The telephone pole just broke in half and it was flying and it landed in the street,"  said Christiansen.

Police say one driver caused the mess when he made an extremely wide turn and hit a stabilizing wire on the power pole at about 8:20 Saturday morning.  The first calls they got were about  an explosion involving a transformer.  Soon after, Washington State Patrol and the Seattle Fire Department responded to at least one other crash on or near I-5.

Meanwhile, Seattle City Light crews worked to shut off power to the still active power lines.  Patti Christiansen left her hose running to call 911 and then didn't return to shut it off.  She said she "didn't dare walk down there any further because of all the lines" and a firefighter on the phone told her not to touch the faucet.

Police say the driver of the car that caused the power pole to split and power lines to fall, did not appear impaired, but say he will still be cited for "negligent driving".  Some houses in the neighborhood lost power.  That has been restored.

Several neighbors told us this is one of the scariest incidents they've experienced and some heard and saw some of the damage from the Greenwood gas explosion in March 2016.

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