Construction worker critically injured in electrical accident on Kernan Boulevard

Jacksonville police say boom truck lifting traffic signal hit energized line

By Kelly Wiley - I-TEAM reporter, Steve Patrick - News4Jax digital managing editor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A construction worker installing traffic signals Friday morning on North Kernan Boulevard in East Arlington was critically injured when a boom truck he was in hit a high power transmission line, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

The man operating the crane was doing electrical work for a subcontractor working on a Jacksonville Transportation Authority, tried to get off the truck but was shocked. Police said the victim was hospitalized in life-threatening condition.

Residents in the area heard what sounded like an explosion, smelled something burning and came outside to see what was happening.

"We got to the stop sign and there was a gentleman that had grabbed (the victim) and put him on the ground and started doing CPR," Angela Ahern said. "(Paramedics) had to pull him away and when they did, he dropped to the ground and four guys got on the ground with him and held him. Every guy over there was crying."

Sky4 aerials just before noon showed rescue personnel, Jacksonville police and a JEA crew were at the intersection of Kernan and Running River Road, which is north of Atlantic Boulevard.

A News4Jax crew at the scene, initially kept at a distance, could see what appeared to be a pole that should hold overhead traffic signals angled toward the ground by the truck.

The JEA told News4Jax the utility has no record of a request from the subcontractor or the contractor, Superior Construction, to turn off power to the transmission lines in the area while the traffic lights were being installed.

According to the JTA, the man is an employee of James D. Hinson Electrical Contracting Co. Inc. The company told News4Jax it would not be making a comment.

JTA spokesman David Cawton II released a statement Friday afternoon:

“JTA’s main concern is the health and well-being of the subcontractor who was seriously injured today while working on the Kernan Blvd. improvement project, part of JTA’s MobiltyWorks program. We are fully cooperating with authorities as they investigate the cause of the accident.”

In late morning, the JEA reported more than 1,100 people in the area were without power. Kernan remained open to traffic. The utility estimated power would be restored before 2 p.m.

Police and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were on the scene, investigating.

A previous News4Jax report on the JTA Mobility Works project said a 3-mile stretch of Kernan Boulevard between Atlantic Boulevard and McCormick Road was being widened, with new traffic lights, sidewalks and a bicycle path added.

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