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Utility pole crash closes Bell Road for two hours

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An Auburn man’s run-in with a utility pole closed Bell Road for more than two hours Friday morning. Harold Hawkins, 85, was driving his silver Ford Windstar minivan at about 6:20 a.m. eastbound on Bell Road near Sunset Terrace in unincorporated Auburn when, for reasons still under investigation, his vehicle left the road, according to Dave Montijo, Auburn California Highway Patrol spokesman. The front of the van hit a utility pole, shearing it off and causing the power lines to fall on the roadway. The van came to a stop in a field about 45 feet away. Hawkins was transported with minor injuries to Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, Montijo said. No other vehicles were involved. Placer County Fire and Sheriff’s Office personnel responded to the scene. Crews from the county road department as well as AT&T assisted with the downed power lines. With the returning rains, Montijo warned motorists to slow down and give themselves more travel time. “Getting to your destination safely is well worth a few more minutes on the road,” Montijo said. “The relatively warm weather and dry roadways of the last few weeks have spoiled us, but the rains are back, and we all need to be more mindful of the wet roadways and adjust our driving habits accordingly.” -Staff report