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October 22, 2013

Police: Drunken crash damages sewage pump station

TRAVERSE CITY — A Traverse City woman drunkenly plowed her vehicle through a cinder block sewage lift station, authorities said.

Traverse City Police Capt. Brian Heffner said the suspect, 23, was driving south on Woodmere Avenue toward the Hannah Street intersection Monday about 3 a.m. when she swerved through a traffic island into the opposing lanes and then sailed over a curb.

“She went through a fence, struck the lift house and went through a cinder block wall,” Heffner said.

A witness reported seeing a woman leave the vehicle and officers located her walking on the Traverse Area Recreation Trail near Boyd Street about three blocks from the crash. Heffner said the woman’s blood-alcohol content tested at .280 percent, more than three times the legal limit for driving.

The suspect was lodged in Grand Traverse County jail to await arraignment on charges of leaving the scene of an accident and operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a high blood-alcohol content.

The lift station pumps sewage toward the county’s wastewater treatment plant. The city contracts CH2M Hill to handle plant operations.

Project manager Casey Rose said city engineers were inspecting damage to the station’s housing. He said no sewage leaked and pump controls were undamaged.

“They’re inside the structure, just not on the wall that was damaged,” he said.

Rose said the lift station continues to function normally, but crews may have to “pump around” the station as the structure is repaired or replaced.

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