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Manhole Lids Fly at Car, Injure Driver

A motorist was injured in a freak accident Wednesday night when an underground explosion sent two manhole covers flying into the air and through the front windshield of his car in Van Nuys, authorities said.

The Department of Water and Power was investigating the cause of the 7:15 p.m. blast, which occurred in a vault containing electrical equipment under the northbound lanes of Van Nuys Boulevard just north of Vanowen Street. The unidentified motorist, who suffered facial lacerations, was taken to Valley Hospital in Van Nuys, police and fire officials said.

The lids, one weighing an estimated 200 pounds and the other 50 pounds, slid along the hood of the car, smashed the windshield and came to rest in the front seat, authorities said.

Police closed Van Nuys Boulevard for about two blocks on each side of the explosion for about an hour afterward. Department of Water and Power workers said they had not determined what caused the blast below the street. The boulevard’s pavement did not appear to be damaged.

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