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Overhead Pole Falls Onto SUV On Stony Island Avenue; Problem Of Falling Light Poles Goes Back Years

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A city pole hanging over busy Stony Island Avenue snapped and fell right on top of a sport-utility vehicle this week.

The driver now has thousands of dollars in damage, but that's not why he's upset. As CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported, the driver also may be on the hook for his repairs.

On Thursday night, pieces of a sport-utility vehicle were still littering Stony Island Avenue. But that is minor – especially when you look up to notice the horizontal pole that should be hanging over Stony Island Avenue at 73rd Street is missing.

It came crashing down onto Hector Martinez's car in the snow on Monday. Martinez received quite the scare during his drive to work.

"I'm driving across this intersection when it just fell right on down," Martinez said.

The heavy pole shattered Martinez's windshield – and more.

"I think about if I were just in one lane over, I wouldn't be here right now," Martinez said, "because that traffic light definitely would have gone through the sunroof. It's really scary."

While scary, it is also nothing new. The 2 Investigators uncovered light poles toppling over dating back to 2015.

RELATED: Falling Light Poles In Streeterville Could Be Due In Part To Dog Urine, Expert Says | Community Concerned After Rusted Street Light Collapse | Chicago's Stoplight Pole Problems Plague Drivers, Pedestrians | 2 Investigators: Where Light Poles May Fall Next | 2 Investigators: Rusted Light Poles 'Very Worrisome' | 2 Investigators: Rusty Light Poles A Danger Across Chicago

There were complaints of rusty bases that damaged more than just property. People have been seriously injured.

"You would figure if you've been reporting it this long, that the city would have done something about it," Martinez said.

The Chicago Department of Transportation did come to pick up the toppled pole on Stony Island Avenue the same morning as the accident. But they did not repair it.

"You can tell that that piece of telephone pole is rusted as all hell," Martinez said as he documented the accident.

He told CBS 2's Terry he is very much left wondering if something like it could happen again.

CDOT said prior to Martinez's incident, no one reported the rust problems – and that means the repairs are his responsibility. But we wanted to know if the city plans to check the other poles that people and drivers are going under.

"What if there were kids walking to school or something like that?" Martinez said.

Since contacting the city, CBS 2 is told crews will be back out in the area checking the remaining street poles to make sure they are rust-free and, in fact, safe.


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