Crime

North Myrtle Beach police arrest 58-year-old man after crash caused large power outage

Van towed from scene after crash causes power outage in NMB

A van is towed from the scene after a suspected DUI driver crashed into a utility pole at the corner of Little River Neck Road and Hill Street and caused a power outage in North Myrtle Beach on Tuesday night.
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A van is towed from the scene after a suspected DUI driver crashed into a utility pole at the corner of Little River Neck Road and Hill Street and caused a power outage in North Myrtle Beach on Tuesday night.

North Myrtle Beach police arrested a man who left the scene after crashing into a power pole, causing 11,000 people to be without power Tuesday night.

Rickey Lee Watkins, 58, of North Myrtle Beach, is charged with driving under the influence, driving under suspension and leaving the scene of a crash.

Rickey Lee Watkins, 58, of North Myrtle Beach.jpg
Courtesy of J. Reuben Long Detention Center

Officers responded to Hill Street and Little River Neck Road for a report of a collision Tuesday night. Police said a white van collided with a Santee Cooper power pole and snapped the top off, which supported high-tension wires. Power was cut to everything north of Main Street.

Residents who heard the collision saw the driver leaving the scene on foot, heading toward the Palmetto Shores subdivision, authorities said. Police found Watkins at 1723 25th Ave. North. He admitted to operating the van and voluntarily surrendered to officers, police said.

Watkins was later transported from the jail to the hospital for a possible medical emergency and consented to his blood being drawn at the hospital. Results are pending in the case.

Santee Cooper workers were still on scene Wednesday morning repairing damage and replacing the pole.

North Myrtle Beach Public Safety is directing traffic at the site.

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The Sun News Reporter Hannah Strong is passionate about making the world better through what she reports and writes. Strong, who is a Pawleys Island native, is quick to jump on breaking news, profiles stories about people in the community and obituaries. Strong has won four S.C. Press Association first-place awards, including one for enterprise reporting after riding along with police during a homicide. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Winthrop University.


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