Culver truck accident takes out trees, power lines

Cleanup and restoration crews were on the scene much of the day Thursday following a Wednesday night accident which left three telephone poles -- and a great deal of wiring -- and two trees down.

According to Culver town marshal Wayne Bean, the accident occurred around 9:30 p.m. when George Hopple, Jr., of Hopple Trucking and Excavating in Culver was driving west on Lake Shore Drive, having delivered a load of sand to the town park area in a company dump truck. The truck's dumper bed was raised as it passed the 400 block of Lake Shore Drive and apparently caught on a wire above the street, leading to the downfall of poles and trees and causing what Bean described as "several thousand dollars worth of damage."

Besides the poles and trees, some damage was done to the roof of a nearby home as well as to the business building at 415 Lake Shore Drive, in the area housing Gladie's Deli.

Culver officer John Duhnowsky, on the scene shortly after the accident, cited Hopple for driving with expired plates. Hopple was also ciited for driving and without insurance. Marshall County police and Culver EMS and fire were also on the scene, which neighbors described as looking "like a war zone."

Neighbor Michael Willhite said NIPSCO crews had electrical power restored to the area by 11 p.m. Wednesday night, but telephone and cable television service was still unavailable Thursday afternoon.

Willhite said his nephew, Zach, was on the family's front porch at 416 Lake Shore Drive and witnessed the accident, which he said was almost deafening in volume.

"It's just fortunate that no one was hurt," added Michael, noting foot traffic in the area could have been much higher had the incident occurred over the upcoming holiday weekend.