Update: 11 a.m. Friday, April 16:
A Gainesville man was arrested after an investigation into the Thursday, April 15, crash that caused power outages and more than $40,000 in damage, police said.
Cleveland Highway/U.S. 129 and Clarks Bridge Road reopened Thursday afternoon following the overnight crash near Riverbend Elementary School that took down multiple power poles.
The crash cut off power to the school and entry to campus, according to Hall County Schools, forcing Riverbend students to learn digitally from home Thursday.
Officers responded around 2 a.m. to a semitrailer entangled in power lines, Gainesville Police Lt. Kevin Holbrook told The Times. Holbrook said the driver told police he was driving north on Cleveland Highway when he noticed sparks along the trailer of his truck.
"The truck became entangled in power lines, causing the truck to take down multiple power poles," Holbrook said.
Upon further investigation, police also found a Chevy Avalanche crashed in the same area on Riverbend Church property. Holbrook said it appeared the truck left the roadway, struck a power pole, then struck a tree in front of the church. The driver fled the scene, he said.
Holbrook said the pickup truck crash damaged the utility lines, allowing the semitrailer to become entangled.
The driver of the Chevy Avalanche was later cited for violating his duty to stop upon striking a fixture.
Utility crews arrived on scene around 4 a.m. to begin replacing utility poles and lines, Holbrook said. Hall County Schools spokesman Stan Lewis said Thursday afternoon that power had been restored and the roadway was back open.
Police did not have any estimate on how many people were without power during the 12-hour repair period Thursday.
The Gainesville Police Department is investigating both incidents.
"We know this has had a huge impact on those traveling in the area," Holbrook said.