Man electrocuted after climbing utility pole

UPDATED > No graphic images: Many who beheld the deceased, dangling from wires high above the intersection, say it was a horrifying sight …

This busy Hazelwood neighborhood intersection is closed, after a disturbed or impaired man grabs electric wires, high up on a utility pole, and electrocutes himself.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Traffic came to a standstill at 4:50 p.m. on Wednesday, June 28, after a man climbed a utility pole in the northeast corner of SE 122nd Avenue and Stark Street, began throwing the contents of his pockets, and then grabbed high-tension wires and was electrocuted.

“I was waiting for a bus, and saw this guy who looked drunk or stoned, staggering around near the street,” reported witness Diegas Estamante,

“He was yelling something – I couldn’t tell what he was saying – and he started climbing the pole,” Estamante told East Portland News.

“Near the top, he started grabbing his pockets and started throwing stuff down on the people standing below him, who were yelling at him to come down,” Estamante continued. “He started pulling on the wires, and there was a bright spark and flame, and he went limp, surely dead. It was horrifying to see.”

Utility workers gather to begin devising a plan to retrieve the deceased man from the electric wires.

“Officers, who arrived a few minutes after being dispatched, saw that the man was likely being electrocuted as he dangled there,” said Portland Police Bureau Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

Portland General Electric and Portland Fire & Rescue crews arrived and consulted about how to get the deceased man down from the wires.

After shutting off the electric current to the pole, utility workers get into their bucket lifts, preparing to remove the deceased.

“PGE crews were able to shut down the power and retrieve the man’s body from the power lines at approximately 6:30 p.m.,” Simpson remarked.

The man electrocuted on June 28 was identified as 27-year-old Kelton Michael Kennedy of West Linn, Oregon. The Oregon State Medical Examiner ruled the death a suicide. “Kennedy had a history of documented mental health crisis,” Simpson later informed.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News


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