Four men were hospitalized, three of them still in critical condition on Thursday morning, after suffering severe electrical burns in a bizarre accident Wednesday afternoon that one police officer said should have had only one victim.
Steven Blake, 21, Provo, was in critical and unstable condition, and Johnny Wakamatsu, 70, Pleasant Grove, and David Connelly, 45, Salt Lake City, were in critical but stable condition after being treated for third-degree electrical burns Wednesday night at the University Hospital in Salt Lake City. A fourth victim, Rusty Schweppe, 44, Orem, was treated at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center and released.Provo police say trouble began while Skywriter Electric Signs Inc. employees Wakamatsu and Schweppe were installing a sign at 225 W. 2230 North. While Wakamatsu was placing equipment in a truck at about 3:30 p.m., police said, the truck's boom-type ladder, operated by Schweppe, made contact with a 7,200-volt power line.
Wakamatsu suffered an electrical shock that knocked him to the ground, and when Schweppe attempted to pull the victim away from the truck, he too was shocked. Passers-by Connelly and Blake tried to assist the victims but also were injured because the truck still was grounded to the power line.