SCENE SAFE at automobile mishaps? Women electrocuted intending to help reckless driver,0,7655025.story

article commenter corrects:
“The driver hit an old lamp post NOT a utility poll. The wires from the lamp post were old and wired from underground. The lamp post had not been updated with a GFI that would have saved the victims. You can see the lamp post in the Times photo. When the car knocked out the hydrant at the same time, the flood of water hid the downed post and exposed wires. There were NO visible power cables and that is why people approached the car including an LAPD officer. Come on LA Times. I know things are tight money wise but let’s get at least the basic facts right in your reporting.”

Things like this make me wonder if things actually happen for a reason or if it’s all a big crap shoot.

Things like this make me wonder if things actually happen for a reason or if it's all a big crap shoot.

Many religious myth-believers in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Mormonism, Hinduism, etc., claim all happens by divine design. Yet they have absolutely no proof whatsoever.

I can tell you as a utility worker that most street lights around here are not GFI protected. When I get called out to the scene of a crash where a transmission, distribution or streetlight pole get knocked down, very often people have already exited the vehicle, and sometimes the first responders are already at the vehicle, its a crap shoot.

Most of the time if its a distribution or transmission line the line is fused and hopefully that fuse will blow, and/or the protective relaying at the substation will take over and kill the line. So far we have been lucky here.

I think the driver in question should be charged, he was driving recklessly. 99.5% of time a pole gets hit around HERE its due to a intoxicated/high driver, a reckless driver, or a distracted driver. Every. Single. Time.

I did have a streetlight that was hit on purpose. The 19 year old was angry at his family and there was a domestic dispute, he got in his tempo/topaz and left the driveway, went across the street and knocked down a light pole. He told me and the police he hit on on purpose because he was mad. I told the kid that it was better to hit the pole than his family members. What do you say to that!!??

^ Could a GFI proctect the circuit for all of the lamps?
Why the high voltage?
Thank you.

It’s a tragedy but I don’t know if they can make manslaughter charges stick on something like this.

I agree.
Having worked for two Deputy Attorneys General, I have seen weak prosecutions collapse of their own weight, and I think that this charge is a weak one.

4800 volts for a light pole? Is that correct? Can you really use a GFI for 4800 volts? Sounds more like a manufacturing plant than a light pole. I don’t think a lot of people consider a downed light pole though the same as downed power lines so might be a good learning opportunity.

Sorry, I didn’t read this particular article, I read several other articles on the deaths and I didn’t catch it was 4800 volts, I thought it was a 120 or 240 volt street light circuit.

No, if it was 4800 volts it was a distribution line, Our system is 13,800 volts, I have seen a line knocked down on the ground by a tree firing and the dirt was turned to almost a glass like state. 120 volts can kill you just as easily as 4800 volts in many cases…

The fault current must not been high enough to cause the protective relaying at the substation to trip the circuit, or blow the line fuse if it had one.

Sometimes when a line comes down, it trips the circuit, sometimes it doesnt. It all depends on the type of fault, the current, the distance from the substation, the settings on the protective relays ect…

As far as light pole, power pole, telephone pole, its a regional thing. A light pole around here is a street light pole, in other places its different. Some places, everything is a telephone pole, even if there is no telephone wires on it.

I read robert gifts comment and seen light pole and assumed it was a street light… I didn’t have my coffee yet.


I’m surprised the Ford Tempo had enough power to knock down that utility pole


It was an small aluminum street light pole in a subdivision, it was probably 15 ft tall and weighed 50-60lbs. The tempo/topaz wasn’t even that bad. The kid seemed a little “off”.

A little story about electricity that might amuse you WheresRick. I came in from work one time and right after I got home the power went out. Neighbors across the street still had theirs and a look out the back door didn’t tell me anything so my wife called the electric company.

When the service guy arrived we walked out and discovered that the line had been ripped down from the pole at my house, down the alley, and across the street to another house.
The moron who lived in that house came out and stated that he had trimmed a tree limb and it fell on the wires from his house to the pole. This proceeded to tear more lines down. Instead of gently trimming the limb from around the wires at his house he lopped the entire 30 foot limb off at the trunk and like a runaway train it brought everything down.

This guy was in shorts, no shirt, and barefooted. The service rep told this guy not once, but twice, to stay away from that line on the ground because it was probably still hot.
So what does he do a minute later? Walks right on top of it while barefooted.

He yelled, shot about 3 feet up in the air with a wisp of smoke, and then limped off home. The service rep was snickering and shouted after him; “Kind of hot, ain’t it”.

Much of this depends on how the state law is written, bear in mind that the judge only said there was enough evidence to bring the case to trial. The evidence I imagine would be that due to the driver’s negligence and disregard two people’s deaths resulted. It’s also likely that the law and the charges filed would provide the option for the driver to be found guilty on a “lesser charge”.

If the evidence is solid, and the law written well, I suspect they have a good case.