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Columbia internet outage caused by crash involving minors from police chase

A police pursuit on Thursday night led to an unexpected internet outage for several schools and buildings in northern Columbia the following day.

According to Cpt. Brian Leer, two juveniles were involved in a car chase with deputies from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department. The pursuit ended in a crash into a utility pole on Oakland Gravel Road near Vandiver Drive.

Before the crash, the Columbia Police Department had tried to stop the vehicle twice, and it had been involved in another collision. Deputies spotted the vehicle near Thornberry Drive and Oakland Gravel Road and initiated the pursuit. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries.

During the chase, the driver lost control of the vehicle, resulting in a collision with two utility poles on Oakland Gravel Road near Holly Avenue. This incident caused significant damage to the utility pole, impacting both power and fiber lines, according to City Utilities Spokesperson Matt Nestor.

City crews promptly began repairs around 1 a.m. Friday, which involved installing a new pole and transferring wires. Power was restored by 7 a.m., with only a few individuals experiencing temporary outages.

However, the internet outage persisted longer due to damage to fiber lines. Crews continued repair work into Friday afternoon, with a particular focus on restoring internet access.

The outage affected four Columbia Public School buildings: Battle High School, Battle Elementary, Two Mile Prairie Elementary, and the district transportation facility. While the primary impact was on the phone system, which relies on internet connectivity, the district ensured alternative communication methods and minimal disruption to classes.

Meanwhile, the nearby Columbia Fire Department Station 4 also faced challenges due to the outage. However, Assistant Chief Jeff Heidenreich reassured that backup systems were in place, allowing firefighters to maintain emergency response capabilities despite the loss of internet and power.

Overall, the incident highlighted the importance of backup systems and preparedness in ensuring continuity of essential services during unexpected disruptions.

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