Houseboat takes down power lines
Watercraft hit cables while being pulled on access road

COVINGTON - A houseboat in tow by a truck hit power lines on Access Road at Harold Dobbs Road during rush hour Thursday evening, causing the lines to come down across Access Road and both eastbound and westbound Interstate 20.

Lt. Tyrone Oliver with the Newton County Sheriff's Office said the driver of the truck deviated from the route on I-20 that had been approved for him by the state Department of Transportation and was apparently trying to take a shortcut on Access Road when the accident occurred.

Snapping Shoals EMC was called to the scene to repair the lines. According to information provided by the EMC, the houseboat hit the phone main on Access Road that caused the EMC's lines to come together and burn. Several cars were damaged by the downed lines, a small grass fire was ignited by sparks from the power lines, and 786 customers lost power for about 35 minutes. Crews worked until about 8:30 p.m. to get the lines repaired.

A Sheriff's Office incident report listed a Ford F-350 and a 2004 Acura TL as being damaged by the downed lines.

Oliver said the Sheriff's Office was able to keep traffic moving on the interstate except for a brief period when the EMC was running lines across the traffic lanes.

"Once everything was under control and we worked the accident and EMC got the lines up, the truck was put back on its original route," Oliver said.

According to Oliver, the Georgia State Patrol directed the truck driver back onto westbound I-20 toward Conyers. The houseboat was parked in a shopping center parking lot on Ga. Highway 138 on Friday afternoon.

In other news, a man who apparently believed he was chatting with a 13-year-old girl online has been arrested by the Sheriff's Office and charged with sexual exploitation of children and computer pornography.

According to the Sheriff's Office, Walter Alexis Semidey, 26, of 2923 Jodeco Terrace, Jonesboro, was arrested after a two-month investigation in which he communicated online with an investigator with the Sheriff's Office.

Deputies went to Semidey's residence in Jonesboro to make the arrest.

Alice Queen can be reached at alice.queen@newtoncitizen.com.