Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 14, 2013

Coroner: Tree trimmer backed into line

From staff reports
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — An autopsy shows a tree trimmer contracted by Traverse City Light & Power died after he backed into a high-voltage power line.

Zachery Eldon Adams, 23, of Sears, was trimming branches from a pine tree in a backyard off East Orchard Drive on Aug. 6 when he was fatally shocked by a 13,800-volt line. TCL&P officials said he was getting a piece of equipment from a coworker on the ground when the accident occurred.

“The cause of death (is) cardiac arrest due to high-voltage electrocution,” said Matthew Houghton, medical examiner for Grand Traverse County. “It was accidental.”

Houghton said Adams just had to come into close proximity with the line for electrocution to occur, but burn marks indicate the tree trimmer came in direct contact with the line.

“He must have backed into it,” he said.

Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration and TCL&P officials couldn’t be reached for comment on an investigation into the accident.