A woman single-handedly pulled the plug on 18,000 residents in Cape May, NJ, on a cold March morning earlier this year, but the reason behind the crash that left so many in the dark was much more simple. According to court records, 26-year-old Denise M. Pomykacz of Burlington Township was driving under the influence of alcohol the morning of March 27 when she plowed into a utility pole just before 5am.
As a former municipal prosecutor and now as a New Jersey drunk driving defense lawyer, I know how combining a DWI arrest with other traffic offenses or moving violations can complicate an individual’s case. Whether one is facing charges of driving while intoxicated, breath test refusal or prescription drug DUI, there is no sense in making things worse by adding property damage or injury to the list of offenses.
In the recent case of Ms. Pomykacz, the former West Wildwood resident reportedly pled guilty in a Middle Township courtroom to DWI charges lodged against her following the drunken driving episode that winter morning.
That Saturday around 4:40am, according to police reports, Pomykacz crashed into a utility pole on Reeves Street between Vicks and Gibbs in the Whitesboro section of Middle Township. That accident and subsequent downing of the local power lines apparently shut down an electrical substation that supplied power to thousands of Atlantic City Electric customers in the local area, namely Middle Township and Stone Harbor.
Middle Township Police eventually caught up with the woman, who was arrested and ultimately charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to report a motor vehicle accident, failure to produce proper documentation, not to mention other miscellaneous charges no doubt associated with the cutting of power to 18,000 people.
As a result of her guilty plea, Pomykacz was sentenced to 12 hours’ worth of participation in New Jersey’s Intoxicated Driver Resource Center Program. Her driver’s license was also suspended for 90 days, and she was fined $1,131 by the judge presiding over the case.
Woman who caused blackout for 18,000 in Cape May County pleads guilty to DWI, PressofAtlanticCity.com, May 25, 2010