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Inattentive garbage truck driver downs New Paltz utility lines

An inexperienced garbage truck driver took out a number of utility lines in the neighborhood of North Front Street this morning, leading to interruptions of electricity, phone, and traffic in the area for several hours.

According to reports of eyewitnesses and workmen, a County Waste truck carrying a dumpster in its elevated position turned onto North Front Street around 10:15 AM, and caught the utility lines extending over the intersection with Church Street, breaking them. The driver continued, apparently unaware of the mishap until his truck was stopped when it caught more lines in front of the Jewish Congregation on North Chestnut Street.

Jessica, an employee of Handmade and More on North Front, saw the truck go by. “He hit a tree and then the power lines,” she said, mentioning that she'd heard reports that the driver had strewn garbage along Main Street, as well.

Shawn Kaan, a construction manager for Verizon, concurred that it was a County Waste truck. “He only has about three weeks' experience,” Kaan said. “He stopped when his truck got caught up in the wires by the Jewish Congregation.”

The wires at the corner of North Front and Church were repaired by around 2PM, although some local businesses and residents were still without phone service. Moreover, traffic into the businesses dried up completely while North Front Street was closed to effect repairs.

According to Kaan, Central Hudson was also on site to repair their equipment.

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