Driver charged with DUI in wreck that knocked out power to hundreds, closed Rivers Avenue

Andrea Ortiz (Al Cannon Detention Center)

A woman is facing a drunk driving charge after police say she hit a power pole early Thursday morning, downing power lines, knocking out power for hundreds and shutting down all four lanes of Rivers Avenue.

Andrea Ortiz, 25, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence after North Charleston Police say she drunkenly crashed her pickup into a light pole on Rivers Avenue near its intersection with Benderson Road shortly after 2 a.m. Thursday.

Police arrived to find the truck unoccupied. Police say Ortiz, the truck’s owner, later walked back to the scene, at which time officers noticed a strong odor of alcohol on her breath.

According to police, Ortiz admitted to having a beer earlier in the night, but “not many,” and said she felt she was OK to drive. Police also say Ortiz had watery, bloodshot eyes, and was unsteady on her feet to the point of losing nearly her balance while simply walking.

Police took her into custody on suspicion of DUI after they say she struggled with field sobriety tests. Once at the Charleston County Detention Center, officers say she was given a breathalyzer. According to police, her blood-alcohol level came back at twice the legal limit (.16%).

Ortiz was then arrested. In addition to DUI, police say Ortiz was also charged for not having a valid driver’s license.

Portions of Rivers Avenue in the area of the crash remained closed for several hours after the crash. Electricity was not restored to people and businesses in the area until sometime after 5 a.m.

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