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Drunk driver hits a pole and narrowly misses a police car in Tonawanda

A North Tonawanda man is facing drunken driving charges after he struck a National Grid pole and nearly struck a Town of Tonawanda Police car on Saturday.

Nathan H. Merchant, 34, of Schenck Street was charged with driving while intoxicated, fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana and imprudent speed after he struck the pole at 3:45 a.m. Saturday at the city/town line at Main and Delton streets.

Merchant appeared intoxicated, according to officers, and told them he was driving 45 miles per hour as he was driving home. A blood alcohol test revealed a level of 0.13 percent, which is above the legal limit of .08 percent.

Police also found 26 grams of marijuana in the vehicle.

The force of the crash damaged the National Grid pole and police left the car at the scene for a time to hold up the damaged pole. It was removed after National Grid replaced the pole.