Car crash prompts temporary power outage on lower campus

The scene of a car crash that caused power outages throughout lower campus on Sept. 12 is pictured. Rachel Hartman / The Tufts Daily

A vehicle collided with electrical generators beside Pearson Chemical Laboratory late Wednesday night, according to Executive Director of Public Relations Patrick Collins. Collins added that the driver was not injured. The accident prompted a temporary shutdown of power to the Somerville side of the Tufts campus and an evacuation of the Mayer Campus Center.

The details leading up to the crash remained unclear as of Thursday night. Collins said in an email statement that the driver “could not explain how the crash happened.”

The crash occurred at approximately 10:15 p.m. Wednesday night, when the driver of a motor vehicle collided with the generators in Pearson’s parking lot, according to Sergeant Christopher McGee of the Tufts University Police Department (TUPD).

Emergency services were swift in their response, according to Collins, who said that the Somerville Fire Department, Cataldo Ambulance and TUPD officers worked together at the scene. They were joined by employees of utility company MassElectric, according to a TUPD email sent to students.

Fencing surrounding the generators, as well as the generators’ metal housing, suffered visible damage, but it was not initially clear to responders if the generators themselves had been damaged in the crash. McGee said that the collision did not trigger the power outage.

TUPD sent an email at 11:40 p.m. warning students that the power would be shut off to the Somerville side of campus. The email stated that this was a necessary measure to allow responders to check the generator for damage.

Students were evacuated from the nearby Mayer Campus Center prior to the outage, according to Noah Zussman, a student on duty managing the Campus Center at the time.

Zussman, a junior, said he was conducting his hourly head count of the center when, at around 11:30 p.m., a TUPD officer approached him.

“The police officer told me about the situation and that we had to shut down the Campus Center,” Zussman said.

He said that he and senior Charlie Zhen, a fellow campus center manager who was present, though not on duty at the time, went around the center asking students to leave. Zussman added that power to the center was cut as he was locking up.

A follow-up email indicated that power was restored at 12:35 a.m.