In 2001, 26-year-old Dallas Wiens of Fort Worth was involved in a Texas car accident in which a vehicle struck a utility pole and caused live wires to fall onto the car. When he tried to help a passenger escape the wreck, he was electrocuted. His face was so badly burned that he became the recipient of one of the country’s first full face transplants.
We can all learn a lesson from Wiens’ tragedy: there are very specific actions you should take if you are involved in a car accident that results in downed power lines:
- Do not get out of the car. While it may be your first instinct to exit the car or check on others involved in the accident, you should stay in your vehicle. The wires on the utility pole may still be live, and you could be electrocuted.
- Call for help from inside the vehicle. Carry a cell phone with you in case of emergencies. If you do not have a cell phone, ask someone nearby to call for help, but tell them not to approach the scene.
- If you must exit the car, do so carefully. Look for any kind of wire or power line. More importantly, hop from the car without ever touching the car and the ground at the same time.
- Realize that the ground can be energized by a downed line. You can get shocked even if you never come into direct contact with a power line.
- If you see a car and utility pole accident, do not approach the scene of the wreck. Though you may want to check on those in the vehicle or pull them to safety, it is the best choice for everyone to wait for emergency response crews to arrive.
Have you been involved in a Texas car accident that involved a downed utility pole? Speak with a Dallas injury attorney today about your legal options.