Saturday, September 04, 1999

Family sues DP&L over electrocution

Man was killed by downed wire

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — A Wayne Township woman who watched helplessly for 20 minutes as her husband was electrocuted by sagging power lines last month has sued Dayton Power & Light Co. for $200 million.

        The wrongful death suit filed in Warren County Common Pleas Court this week claims that the utility company was negligent because it did not properly maintain its power lines.

        The complaint also alleges that DP&L failed to warn Vicki and Ronald Hawk of the downed lines, nor did they fix the power lines even though several DP&L crews were dispatched to the area to investigate a power outage.

        DP&L also failed to turn off the power immediately after Mrs. Hawk called 911. That forced Mrs. Hawk to watch in horror and rendered police and paramedics unable to treat Mr. Hawk for 20 minutes while the high-tension wire continued to electrocute him, the complaint alleges.

        Mr. Hawk, a 37-year-old welder, was electrocuted about 12:15 a.m. Aug. 19 when he went out to investigate a small fire in front of his home in the 8300 block of Cedar Hill Road.

        When he did not return, Mrs. Hawk went out and found him lying in a ditch with a high-tension wire across him.

        According to the lawsuit, Mr. Hawk's aunt, Mae Lucille Craycraft-Boggs, who lived next door, also witnessed the death when she ran to the couple's house to report seeing a fire in the front yard.

        She and Mr. Hawk's parents, James E. Hawk and Ludema Hawk, of Pulaski County, Ky., are included as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

        Mrs. Hawk could not be reached Friday. She was out of town, according to a woman who answered the phone at her residence.

        Officials at DP&L had little to say about the lawsuit.

        “The incident itself is under investigation,” spokesman Tom Tatham said. “Beyond that, our thoughts and sympathy are with Mr. Hawk's family.”


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