Traffic delays are nothing new for metro Detroiters. After all, many of us joke we only have two seasons in the Midwest – winter and construction – and natives of southeastern Michigan have become well-versed in navigating orange barrels, potholes and speed traps during our day-to-day commutes. But earlier this fall, when a two-mile stretch of northbound I-75 was shut down, and gridlock ensued, people – including the local media – took notice.
The cause of the road closure, which stretched from 12 Mile Road to 14 Mile Road, was a downed power line that fell when road crews snagged the wire and caused a utility pole to break. Reporters covered the situation from choppers and worked closely with our corporate communications to ensure customers in nearby areas received up-to-date information about when the issue would be resolved.
Sherry Green, a 41-year DTE employee, closely watched the situation unfold live on TV, and what she saw piqued her interest – professional and personal. You see, the downed power line fell on a red Camaro traveling through the area – a red Camaro that happened to look just like the one her grandson drives.
“I called my kids and told them the car under the power line looked like my grandson’s,” Sherry said. “They told me I should relax, and that he doesn’t drive the only Camaro in the world. They didn’t believe it was him.”
But while it’s true Sherry’s grandson’s car isn’t the only red Camaro in the world, she later found out that it was in fact the one trapped beneath the potentially deadly down wire strewn across one of the area’s busiest freeways. And thanks to her commitment to sharing – and reinforcing – important downed wire safety information with her family and friends during the course of her career with our company, we’re thrilled to say this story has a happy ending.
Sherry’s grandson knew exactly what to do when the energized line fell on his car roof. He stayed in his car, avoided touching any metal inside the car and called 9-1-1 for help.
“For as long as I can remember, electric safety has been an important topic in my house,” Sherry said. “From staying 20 feet away from downed lines and anything they may come in contact with, to staying inside a vehicle and calling for help if you’re trapped by a downed line, and everything in between, I’ve always made it a point to make sure my babies – and grandbabies – were prepared to make safe decisions. I’m so happy it all worked out.”
Following Sherry’s grandson’s 9-1-1 call, our crews were dispatched to the scene immediately – and quickly and safely resolved the situation – allowing Sherry’s grandson and scores of gridlocked commuters to continue on their way. And while Sherry is reluctant to accept the hero title she very much deserves, she’s quick to point out the efforts of the crews that arrived on-scene and helped her grandson arrive safely at his destination.
“I can’t say enough about our linemen and other crew members,” Sherry said. “They go out there every day and do an extremely dangerous job to ensure we’re safe, and to keep the lights on. I’ll keep them all close to my heart this holiday season.”
To Sherry and our employees committed to ensuring their friends, family members and neighbors stay safe: we salute you. Thank you for your service and dedication.
Visit dteenergy.com/wiresafety for more information about how to be safe around electricity and downed wires. As Sherry has shown us, doing so could save a life.