Man accused of crashing into High Point gas meter, causing gas leak arrested

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Jose Santos Contreras-Montoya, 40, of Thomasville

HIGH POINT, N.C. – A man accused of crashing into a High Point gas meter and causing a natural gas leak that resulted in several residents evacuating their homes has been arrested.

Jose Santos Contreras-Montoya, 40, of Thomasville, allegedly hit a gas meter head-on in the area of East Lexington Avenue and Bailey Circle at about 5:40 p.m. Sunday.

One resident reported breathing difficulties and after Piedmont Natural Gas employees were able to stop the gas leak, about 22 homes in the immediate area were evacuated as a precaution.

The residents have since returned to their homes and the person who reported having breathing problems was treated at the scene by medical workers. No other injuries were reported.

The suspect has been charged with driving without an operator’s license, failing to reduce speed to avoid a collision and driving left of center.

Authorities said he admitted to drinking alcohol before the crash, but because several hours had passed before he was identified there was insufficient probable cause to charge him with an impaired driving offense.

When emergency officials responded to the crash, there was heavy front end damage to the vehicle and both airbags deployed. Nobody was inside the car. But North Carolina statutory requirements did not allow for a charge of leaving the scene of the accident.