STRONG - A Shamokin man involved a vehicle crash that knocked out electricity to more than 1,000 customers in Mount Carmel Township Monday morning was committed to Northumberland County Prison on charges he lied to police.

John S. May, 34, of 225 N. Franklin St., was taken into custody by Mount Carmel Township Police following an investigation into the crash, which occurred at 8 a.m. on Arcos Road.

Police were called to the area for an accident that sheared off a utility pole and placed live power wires low to the ground. The investigating officer, Patrolman David Stamets Jr., found a 1993 Jeep Cherokee flipped onto its passenger side.

Police shut down Arcos Road for approximately two hours until PPL employees arrived to fix the pole and wires. They restored service to 1,069 customers in the Mount Carmel and Mount Carmel Township area by 10 a.m.

While the power was out, police were seen directing traffic at nearby Routes 54 and 61 as traffic lights at the busy intersection were inoperable.

Vehicle first reported stolen

While PPL crews began their work, police began their investigation. They asked employees at nearby Arcos Industries if they had seen anything, and someone in the plant said they heard the vehicle was stolen.

Once police were inside the plant, May approached them and said someone stole his vehicle earlier that morning. When officers asked for his license, they noticed May's right hand was bleeding.

He told police he arrived at work at approximately 7 a.m. and believed the theft occurred between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m. He said he was heading outside to move his vehicle for another truck when the power went out. When he got to the spot he parked at, May said his Jeep was gone and he could see smoke. May told police he ran to his jeep and looked inside to see if anyone was there, but didn't find anyone.

Police noted May had a six-inch tear and blood stains on his coat, glass shrapnel on his back and dirt on the front of his coat.

Turkey Hill Minit-Market video surveillance showed May was at the store purchasing a half-gallon of milk at 7:46 a.m. He was also seen on an Arcos video camera, running back through the main gate a short time after the Jeep had left.

Taken into custody

After giving police a written statement which was the same as his original story, police took May into custody. Police asked him if he cut his hand getting out of the jeep after the accident and May said no.

Police then asked him, "Who drives around with a half-gallon of milk before they go to work?"

May replied he got it for his cereal at work. When he was asked what time he bought the milk, May admitted to police it was right before he hit the pole with his vehicle.

In a second written statement, May told police he left the plant to move his vehicle and decided to run to the store. On the way back, he swerved to avoid a deer, hitting the utility pole with his passenger side. He then left the vehicle to go to the plant to get help.

May said in the statement he didn't want to lose his job, which is why he said the vehicle was stolen, police said.

"Should have told the truth; then I wouldn't be sitting in the station," May said, according to the second written statement.

Police also found one of May's wife's Oxycontin pills in his coat pocket inside a bottle marked for migraine relief.

Someone who answered the phone at Arcos late Monday afternoon said anyone who could comment about the situation was gone for the day.

Numerous charges

May was arraigned Monday afternoon before Magisterial District Judge Hugh Jones of Mount Carmel on the ungraded misdemeanors of possession of a controlled substance, misbranding a controlled substance, unsworn falsification to authorities; second-degree misdemeanors of unsworn falsification to authorities, false reports to law enforcement authorities and recklessly endangering another person; and a third-degree misdemeanor of false reports to law enforcement authorities. Also, he was cited for accidents involving damage to unattended property, failure to give immediate notice of an accident to police and careless driving.

He was placed in Northumberland County Prison on $25,000 straight bail following his arraignment.