Greece police car crashes, cop trapped under live wires. Would you know what to do?

Posted at: 03/22/2013 6:11 AM
Updated at: 03/22/2013 6:31 PM
By: Berkeley Brean

A crash very early Friday morning involving a Greece police officer is a good lesson for all of us today.

Greece Police say the patrol car of Officer Ashley MacKenzie slid off Island Cottage Road and crashed into a utility pole. The wires from the pole landed on top of the police car.

Officer Mackenzie stayed in the car until RG&E cut power to the lines and firefighters could rescue her.

Would you know what to do if you found yourself in this situation?

After an accident, your instinct may be to get out of your car as soon as possible.
But if you hit a utility pole and there are wires on or around your car, the safe thing to do is stay inside.

RG&E's live wire demonstration team showed News10NBC what happens if a person steps on a live wire.  Imagine what could have happened if Greece Police Officer Ashley  Mackenzie got out of her car with the wires on top of it Friday morning.

Lt. Rick Downs, Greece Police, said, “In this case, if she tried to get out of the vehicle, the situation might have been much more severe than it was.”

Officer MacKenzie was taken away on a stretcher as a precaution. Police say she only hurt her hand in the crash. RG&E says her biggest threat were the wires.  

Mike Hoffman, RG&E, said, “Looking around you know your vehicle struck a pole and the wires are down. You want to do all you can to stay in that car.”

RG&E says people think downed wires look harmless, but News10NBC learned what could happen if someone tried to remove a downed wire with a piece of wood. They also show us what happens if someone , for whatever reason, tries to touch a live wire without the proper gloves.

Hoffman said, “It's in your backyard. It's in your front yard. It's along the roadways and there's a lot of energy stored. We don't want people to be afraid of electricity, just respect it.”

How often does this really happen? RG&E tracks the total number of motor vehicle accidents that cause power outages. They register an average of 120 a year. 70 to 80 of those involve downed wires. That's roughly an average of one and a half accidents a week.