Man Claims Utility is Responsible for Severe Shock at Willard Bay State Park

Oct 3, 2018, 6:46 AM | Updated: 4:47 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A man who suffered an apparent severe shock at Willard Bay State Park four years ago is seeking medical costs and other damages from Rocky Mountain Power, claiming the utility is responsible for what happened.

The lawsuit filed in federal court claims the utility was negligent by failing to prevent against electrostatic discharges.

Cooper Bacon, 26, was working as a tow truck driver on July 7, 2014, when court documents state that he was injured by “stray” power voltage when he was working on a RV near the entrance to the park.

“My shoulder was on the drive shaft and my hip was touching the frame, so I basically completed a circuit,” Bacon explained Tuesday as he returned to the area for the first time since time since the mishap. “The high tension wires are the only plausible place that they’ve come up with that it could come from.”

Bacon’s lawyer, Emily Swenson, said other shocks had been noted over the years.

“People have been shocked on the credit card machine, they’ve been shocked at this gate,” Swenson said. “They know this problem exists, but they don’t do anything.”

Rocky Mountain Power spokesman Spencer Hall declined to comment on the pending litigation, but he defended the safety of the power lines and said the company complies with all regulations.

“We haven’t seen a situation like this happen, and we haven’t been able to recreate the conditions,” Hall said. “As we did our inspection and looked at the system, there was nothing out of the ordinary that needed to be changed. It already adhered to all the safety standards and we couldn’t find anything that would have caused the anomaly that was claimed.”

Swenson said she was in the process of trying to find others who may have experienced shocks at the park over the years.

The lawsuit, which also names the owners of the RV as defendants, seeks money for Bacon’s medical expenses as well as for lost wages, permanent disability and for other damages.

Bacon said the accident effectively ended his career, and he hoped his story would serve to warn others about what could happen.

“It was a great day up to that point—just a normal day in the life of a tow truck driver,” Bacon said. “I’d just hate for it to happen to anybody else.”

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Man Claims Utility is Responsible for Severe Shock at Willard Bay State Park