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New details released in fatal utility pole accident

A cross now sits at the spot where James Williams was killed last month at the intersection of...
A cross now sits at the spot where James Williams was killed last month at the intersection of Church and Hodges streets in Lake Charles.(KPLC)
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 3:30 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Surveillance video shows wind was not the culprit that brought down a utility pole in a fatal accident at Church and Hodges streets on April 14, according to an initial report from the Lake Charles Police Department.

The driver of the vehicle collided with a support wire attached to the utility pole, causing it to snap and fall on his vehicle, the initial report reads.

The driver, James Williams, was killed in the accident at the intersection of Church and Hodges Street around 8 p.m. that day.

April 14, 2022 was a windy day in Calcasieu Parish, which was also under a tornado watch that evening.

Authorities initially believed winds had caused the pole to snap, but when investigators returned to the scene for further investigation, they say they obtained surveillance video from a nearby business that showed otherwise.

Williams’ vehicle was parked in the parking lot of 420 Church Street, according to the report. Williams had just attended a meeting in the area, witnesses said.

Williams got in the vehicle, and drove east across Hodges into another parking lot at 500 Church Street.

“A short distance later the vehicle collides with what appears to be a support wire attached to the utility pole, causing the top of the pole to snap and then fall directly on top of the passenger compartment of vehicle 1,” the report reads.

It’s unclear if the wire was clearly marked or visible to drivers at night.

Entergy declined to comment.

KPLC reached out to Williams’ family, who say they still believe the pole was rotten.

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