Saturday, May 24, 2003

Boy, 9, killed when he touches light pole



The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - A 9-year-old boy was electrocuted when he apparently touched a streetlight pole on a downtown bridge that somehow carried a live current, police said.

Willie Wagner, of Columbus, was pronounced dead at Children's Hospital on Thursday night. Hospital officials declined to release information about the boy, citing privacy restrictions.

Officers called to the Town Street bridge about 9:15 p.m. found the boy not breathing. Police spokesman Sgt. Brent Mull said the boy was still touching the pole when officers arrived.

Willie, a friend and the friend's father were heading for a bus stop after spending the evening at COSI science museum when the boy touched the pole, Mull said.

Police closed the bridge Friday to pedestrians and cars.

The bridge is one of two over the Scioto River downtown that the city plans to demolish and replace in the coming years because they are deteriorating. A chain-link fence meant to keep people away from the crumbling railing separates pedestrians from the light posts on the Town Street bridge.

Greg Davies, spokesman for the city's public utilities department, said electricians continued Friday trying to determine how the boy could have been electrocuted. Voltage tests showed no current running through the pole, and no loose wiring was found. Workers who touched the pole were not shocked, he said.




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