Cellphone video captures moment father, son hit power lines

The explosion, in an alley near Colby and California in Everett, left the boy seriously injured.

Everett Police released a cellphone video taken by a bystander when a hydraulic lift hit some electrical wires in June. (Everett Police Department)

Everett Police released a cellphone video taken by a bystander when a hydraulic lift hit some electrical wires in June. (Everett Police Department)

EVERETT — A witness had a bad feeling when a man loaded his 5-year-old son onto a hydraulic lift last month in downtown Everett.

So much so, he pulled out his cellphone to record, “believing it was incredibly unsafe,” according to documents released Friday by the Everett Police Department under a public records request.

Minutes later, the lift hit power lines, creating an explosion that knocked out power and injured the father and son. They were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The boy’s injuries were described as serious with burns to his upper body and head.

Also released by police Friday was a short video showing the pair in the lift bucket near electrical wires followed by the explosion.

The incident occurred around 1 p.m. June 22 near the intersection of Colby Avenue and California Street. The case was referred to the police department’s special assault unit as well as state Child Protective Services and the state Department of Labor and Industries.

Detectives sent the case to the city prosecutor’s office with the recommendation of charges for reckless endangerment, Everett police officer Aaron Snell said.

“After a review, prosecutors will decide what appropriate charge, if any, to pursue,” Snell said.

The witness was eating lunch around noon in his truck, which was parked in an alleyway near his job site. He noticed the father and son on the lift in the same alley. The father was allegedly trying to get onto a nearby roof for work, according to police reports.

The man in the lift didn’t seem to know how to work it, according to the witness’ report. He allegedly took a while to start the machine, and began bumping into a building’s walls once it was running. Neither were wearing safety gear, records show.

The witness became concerned.

“I could tell the man didn’t know how to work the lift, so I began to take a video,” the witness wrote in his statement. “Once the man put the young child in the lift and proceed to raise the lift, I knew something bad was going to happen.”

People were around, and yelled at the father to get away from the lines, according to documents.

The witness’ video shows the father raising the lift through a crossing of power lines. The platform goes even higher, until it appears to run into some wires overhead. There’s a large burst of electricity.

It is clear from the video that the man in the truck was audibly upset by what he’d just seen.

He believed he was the only one to see the entire event, according to his statement.

The video stopped, and he got out of his truck. He ran over to the man and child to try to help. The father reportedly seemed confused, but was able to lower the lift to the ground and remove his son from the basket, according to police reports.

People started to crowd the alley, but the witness told them to get back: He wasn’t sure if the fallen lines were still live.

Police arrived and cleared everyone from the area.

The boy was crying, and couldn’t open his eyes, according to an officer’s statement.

Both patients were taken to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett briefly, before being transferred to the hospital in Seattle. They have been released.

Doctors reportedly told the boy’s mother it could be years before they know what sort of long-term damage might have been done to his organs.

The boy’s mother and father have two other children, but have been separated for nearly five years, according to documents.

The day of the incident, the father showed up at her apartment to visit the boy. The mother went out, and thought the other two were staying home for the rest of the day. She didn’t know they had left until someone called her about what had happened, records show.

She told police she didn’t know if the father was supposed to be working that day.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @stephrdavey.

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