Driver who hit powerlines, blocked road is jailed, fined

Published 10:08 am Friday, January 4, 2013

A driver who faced a laundry list of charges for hauling a radio tower that blocked the entire road and interfered with power lines in Lansing was fined and given jail time Thursday morning.

Ron Crews, 25, of Stacyville, Iowa, was sentenced to 20 days in jail and fined $600 for two misdemeanor counts of being a public nuisance. Twenty other misdemeanor charges, including no warning lights, inoperable lights, no driver’s license and no proof of insurance on hand, exceeding load size and unsafe equipment, were dismissed. No sentence was pronounced on two counts of reckless driving.

According to the court complaint, Crews got the proper moving permits on May 7 after he originally touched a power line in Lansing while hauling a very large radio tower on May 6.

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Crews said the structure touched a power line, but he was able to get underneath it. However, law enforcement stopped him underneath the power line for about an hour and a half on May 6. Crews then drove forward and left the structure outside of Lansing, he said. A day later, Crews tried to move it again by a different route after he got the proper permits from the county; however, a Department of Transportation Officer stopped Crews because he did not have escort vehicles. According to the complaint, Crews had a crude structure on the tower to push power lines out of the way.

Crews said he was upset because he got the proper permit, which did not list at what size load he needed to arrange a vehicle escort. Therefore, he attempted to move the item again.

“They never specified if I did or didn’t need an escort,” Crews said.

Crews said he cut down a branch near a power line on Monday to get underneath and said he did touch that power line but didn’t snag it. He was later pulled over by the DOT officer.

According to the court complaint, Crews called dispatch but the Sheriff was unavailable, so he decided to move the tower without consent. Crews was reportedly hauling for Wallace Bustad and taking the tower to his shed in Lansing.