Westside crash knocks out power

Power went for hours Thursday at some business near 19th Street and Meyers Place in Costa Mesa after a bizarre hit-and-run crash that involved a student driver who plowed into a high-voltage electrical box, police said.

That evening, student drivers in two cars were practicing in the area next to the Costa Mesa Department of Motor Vehicles, Sgt. Matt Grimmond said.

An instructor was in one car with a set of students, and his friend — who is not licensed as a driving instructor — was with another set of students in the second car, according to the sergeant.

Around 5:30 p.m., the car carrying the instructor's friend was allegedly traveling too fast southbound on Meyer Place.

The car sideswiped a vehicle in the intersection with 19th Street and continued into a McDonald's parking lot, where it took out the power box, Grimmond said.

After seeing this, the driving instructor ran across the street, loaded all of the students into his car and drove away, leaving his friend at the scene, according to police.

When officers arrived at the intersection, they got a description of the alleged fleeing vehicle and pulled it over on Harbor Boulevard.

Both cars were outfitted with gas peddle and brake peddles in the front driver and passenger seats, leading to a dispute about who was responsible for the crash, police said.

The student driving the car contends the instructor's friend hit the gas and caused the collision, but the friend blamed the student for accelerating, police said.

In the end, officers gave the student driver a ticket for leaving the scene of the accident, and the licensed instructor was ticketed for having too many people in his vehicle when it was pulled over, Grimmond said.

Nobody was hurt in the crash, and the sideswiped car had minor damage, according to police.

Grimmond said he believed power was still out for some business in the area at around 10 p.m.

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