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Car swipes transformer, knocks out power
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A sports car traveling on Commerce Avenue adjacent to Home Depot spun out in the rain with four Manteca High students inside. It hit a PG&E transformer, knocking it off its foundation. Neither the 16-year-old driver nor his passengers were hurt in the crash. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Rain, slick streets, vehicle crashes and a two-hour power outage plagued the Manteca area mid-day on Friday including a Camaro sports car crashing into an electrical transformer on Commerce Avenue between Home Depot and Staples.

Manteca Police said the vehicle apparently went out of control and broadsided a large electrical transformer on the west side of the home supply store knocking it off its foundation. Somehow the car managed to come to a rest between the transformer and a fair sized tree. Four Manteca High students on their lunch break exited out the right side door without experiencing any injuries.

Firefighters kept spectators away from the scene for fear the transformer might explode because it had smoke coming out one side.

The crash and subsequent outages occurred about 12:30 and impacted many people eating or ordering their lunches at several restaurants near Highway 99 and Yosemite Avenue. In N Out Burger and Starbucks were not affected, however.

Power was out in a wide area of Manteca from Bank of the West southward beyond the Highway 120 Bypass, according to one fire department spokesman. The outage involved signals on Yosemite Avenue and down past the Manteca Bulletin to the west.

Women having their hair done at Sadie’s Beauty Salon in the 500 block of East Yosemite Avenue were also given an unwanted respite by the incident. Home Depot was not affected as much as was the Staples Store. Even though their lights were out, the cash registers were still operating.

The tire shop to the north of Home Depot was installing tires on a truck but that had to wait until the power was turned back on for them.

At about the same time as the outage, a traffic accident occurred at the Highway 120 Bypass and South Main Street that backed up the eastbound lanes of traffic on the freeway to beyond Airport Way. Shortly after 4 p.m. another crash on southbound Highway 99, just north of Highway 120, brought freeway traffic there to a crawl.

That was followed in the early evening by a vehicle rollover on northbound Highway 99 at the Jack Tone Road on ramp. There were no injuries reported in the crashes.