Police: Drunk, Tractor thief caused power outage

Photos by Zak Aiken
Photos by Zak Aiken

BUSHLAND, TEXAS - Investigators now believe a suspected drunk driver is the cause of a power outage Friday that left hundreds in Bushland without well water or lights and pushed back the start time of their schools.

DPS says three friends were driving back to Logan, New Mexico after a night on the town in Amarillo. For some reason they stopped in Bushland and two of them drove off, leaving 20-year-old Delani Hazen stranded.

Investigators say still drunk, Hazen decided to steal a tractor to drive home. Deputies think she ran over several power poles causing the outage, scrapped across a Pak-A-Sak parking lot hitting the pump and ended up causing more than $100 thousand of damage.

Below is the formal news release from Potter County Sheriff:

DETAILS: On 04-15-11 At approximately 0402 Deputies were dispatched to mile marker 54, I-40 west, in reference to a large farm tractor reportedly driving recklessly and without lights on I-40. At approximately 0430 Deputies located the suspect Tractor just west of mile marker 54 wrecked into a barbed wire fence on the north side of I-40.

On scene at their arrival, was a Oldham County Sheriff's Deputy who had the suspected operator / driver of the tractor in custody. The Texas Department of Public Safety was notified of the accident and while Deputies were awaiting the arrival of a Trooper to the scene another call came in to Potter County Sheriff's Office Dispatch. The caller, the manger of the Pak A Sack Convenience store in Bushland, reported finding a wrecked farm implement on the parking area of the business and extensive damage to the business.

Deputies responded to the scene and found a John Deere farm implement crashed into and wedged on top of a parking guard immediately in front of the business, damage to the front of the business, extensive damage to a fuel pump at the fuel island, and damage to fencing just south of the business where another piece of wrecked farm equipment was found.

As the investigation continued it was discovered that several Excel Power Poles in the area were damaged and or down which caused a Power loss in the Bushland community for a period. Deputies observed several fences in the area damaged also. It was later determined the tractor was stolen from a pasture in the Bushland Texas area near the Bushland Elementary School.

The estimated cumulative damage reports are in excess of 100 thousand dollars. Delani Hazen, adult female, age 20, of Logan New Mexico has been booked into the Potter County Detention Center charged with Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, a state jail felony, Driving while intoxicated, class B misdemeanor. As the investigation continues and the actual damages are determined additional charges may be filed.