VERNAL The medical condition of an 8-year-old boy who was nearly killed Tuesday night when he came in contact with an electrified piece of conduit at a Uintah County baseball complex is improving.
Kalob Dudley's condition was upgraded Thursday from critical to serious, according to Primary Children's Medical Center spokeswoman Bonnie Midget.
Vernal Police Chief Gary Jensen said Dudley was apparently trying to climb a chain link fence Tuesday night that borders a baseball field using a nearby light pole for leverage.
"We've all done it as kids, where you have a narrow space and you can put your back against one surface and start shinnying your way up," Jensen told the Desert News. "It sounds like that's what he was trying to do was just get a better look over the fence at the game going on."
Bobby Oostveen, one of three electricians who plays softball on a team sponsored by his employer, was on an adjoining field when he heard screaming. He said he ran toward the noise and saw another softball player knock the boy free from the fence and the conduit.
"The kid was still being electrocuted," Oostveen said. "He was blue when people got to him."
He said a second softball player, scaling the chain link fence to reach the boy, also came in contact with the conduit while still on the fence.
"He actually got knocked unconscious," Oostveen said of the second player. "I saw him come over the fence and he landed on his face completely unconscious."
No information was available on the condition of the injured player.
It was also unclear how long the boy was in contact with the live conduit, but Oostveen said it could have been at least five minutes.
Oostveen said a test of the power after the field had been cleared showed the conduit was carrying 320 volts.
"A normal house outlet runs 120 volts. The big lights in big shops run 277 (volts)," he said. "That one being 320 volts is kind of a big deal. It's a lot of power, especially for as long as he was on there."
CPR was performed at the scene before Dudley was taken to Ashley Regional Medical Center by ambulance. He was then flown to Primary Children's Medical Center.
Dan Rodgerson, director of the Uintah Parks and Recreation District, which operates the baseball complex, said Dudley was at the park attending his father's softball game. He said power was immediately shut off to the field after the incident and crews are working with police to determine how the conduit became energized."There's nothing immediately visible as to how or why this was caused, but we're diving into this to try to figure out what happened," Rodgerson said.
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