Truck Hits Transformer, Loses Tire, Keeps Driving 7 Miles Across Island

Jason Graziadei •

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After hitting a transformer on Madaket Road and causing a small power outage on the west end early last Friday morning, a pickup truck lost one of its back tires, yet the operator continued to drive half-way across the island to a residence near Nantucket Memorial Airport on three wheels, according to a Nantucket Police Department report.

The incident was first discovered Friday morning around 8:41 a.m. when police were called by National Grid utility workers who were addressing the smashed transformer, which had been pushed 20 feet off its base and into the brush. A Verizon box and a fire hydrant across the street also sustained damage.

Nantucket Police officers found a side-view mirror and a portion of a back bumper nearby, as well as bits and pieces of a shredded tire leading away from the scene. They followed the tracks heading east on Madaket Road, according to a police report, then found a tire in the roadway around 109 Madaket Road. From there, officers spotted rim marks along the road which they continued to follow for miles across the island.

The rim marks eventually led them to a silver GMC Sierra pickup truck near the intersection of Old South Road and Mary Ann Drive. The truck was missing its back driver-side wheel, as well as its side-view mirror and a portion of its bumper, matching the items lost by the vehicle involved in the transformer collision.

"It should be noted that the total distance from the crash scene to where the tire came off was 3.3 miles and total distance from the crash scene to 1 Mary Ann Dr. is 7.4 miles," officer James Olson wrote in his report.

Olson contacted the owner of the vehicle - identified in the report as Derek Varney - who stated that he had been driving on Madaket Road during the previous evening, but wasn't sure what time.

"Varney stated that he may have slightly hit the transformer box but was still able to drive his vehicle back to his house and also stated that he thought his tire felt low," Olson wrote in the police report.

Varney was issued a summons to appear in Nantucket District Court on the following charges:

  • four counts of leaving the scene of property damage
  • negligent operation of a motor vehicle
  • a marked lanes violation.

The police report tallied property damages from the accident at roughly $11,200.

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