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We Energies crews help woman in California after SUV fell off 75-foot embankment

1-14-23 We Energies crews in CA aid in car accident (2) (crop).jpg
Posted at 2:20 PM, Jan 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-20 15:20:26-05

LIVINGSTON, Calif. (NBC 26) — While returning home after helping restore power in some California communities, Wisconsin We Energies crews came to the rescue of one woman whose SUV went off an embankment.

“We wrapped up our power restoration efforts in central California and had just started our trip home when a driver of an SUV lost control, shot across the freeway median, and went airborne down a 75-foot embankment,” said Jeb Loth, a We Energies operations supervisor.

According to a statement from We Energies, Loth and his co-workers in the five-truck convoy pulled over on US-99 near Livingston, California.

“The SUV landed on its side in a pool of water,” Loth recalled. “Luckily we had easy access to a ladder and were able to get the driver out and up the muddy embankment. If we had not seen the crash, it’s possible no one would have seen the vehicle down the embankment.”

As they got the driver into one of the trucks to wait for paramedics, they experienced another near disaster. According to We Energies, two vehicles on the freeway lost control, collided with each other, and crashed into a We Energies bucket truck that was pulled over on the side of the road.

We Energies crews again jumped into action, providing aid until first responders arrived.

“We went to California to help. Obviously, we did not expect to help in this way, but we are happy we were in the right place at the right time,” Loth said.

The We Energies crews were part of a group of nearly 50 people from We Energies and its sister company Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) that traveled to California earlier this month to help get the lights back on after a series of strong storms.

We Energies said the crews spent a few days in central California helping restore power to some of the hundreds of thousands of people who lost service during the high winds and pounding rain. The Wisconsin crews planned to spend two weeks on restoration efforts but were released over the weekend after an expected strong storm did not materialize, and outages were quickly restored.