County Fair lineman testifies He says he wasn't told to connect ground wire Tuesday, June 08, 2004 Maggi Martin Plain Dealer Reporter Nick Rock, a 40-year electrical lineman, said he never connected a green wire that would have prevented an electrocution because he was never told to connect it.
The green ground wire would have prevented the severe shock that killed Greyson Yoe, 8, while he waited to ride the bumper cars at Lake County Fair last summer, experts testified.
Rock, 80, was one of 12 defense witnesses to testify Monday during his reckless homicide and manslaughter trial in Lake County Common Pleas Court. The case has drawn national attention from amusement ride owners and inspectors.
"I did not connect it because I did not know what it was for," Rock testified. "I was under the impression it was grounded through a grounding rod."
Rock said he climbed a CEI pole to connect power to the bumper cars and bypassed a disconnect box that would have provided an emergency cutoff if the power surged. He bypassed the box because it was overloaded with other fair rides, Rock said.
He connected three of the ride's four electrical wires, leaving the green one dangling. He testified that he thought the white neutral wire was sufficient to ground the ride and prevent electrical shock.
"I was not told to hook up the green wire," Rock testified. Two men working with the ride operators told him the wire was unnecessary, he said.
Other electrical experts have testified that the green grounding wire is essential to the safe connection of any amusement ride. The National Electric Code requires a disconnect box as well.
The defense called seven witnesses who testified they were shocked or saw the power fail while waiting for the bumper cars hours before Greyson Yoe was killed.
Stephanie Flarida said that when she and her three children told the ride operator they were shocked while leaning on a rail, he alerted a supervisor.
"They did nothing," Flarida said.
Ride operator David Yannie, 16, said his training consisted of learning how to push a button. When he told the owner about the reported shocks, he was told, "Keep running it."
Even the state ride inspector admitted there were problems.
Jason Foreman, an agent with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which supervises amusement ride safety, said he wrote the safety manual that state inspectors use. Written in 1980, it was not updated until 2001. Foreman said he wrote the safety precautions but has no background in electrical safety. He is a former carpenter.
A FORTY year lineman??? You cannot convince me that this guy knew for one second that this contraption had a green wire for no reason!!! Anyone who's been involved in either side (electrician or lineman) picks up things about the other side of the trade naturally, as we come in contact with each other for numerous different functions.... For cryin out loud, My mother knows what the friggin green wire does! Connection of this thing without a disconnecting/overcurrent protecting means should've rang a bell in this guys head also! It sounds almost like he hooked up an SO cord to a power pole!
A couple weeks ago I had a similar task handed to me by a friend & his wife for a school carnival (the wife is PTA president) I inspected where I was going to hook everything into.. (2-225A 208Y120V Siemens subpanels which normally feed classrooms & cafeteria) Told her to get me power requirements from each ride owner beforehand, & inform the ride operators that if they're equiptment was in any disrepair, fix it or don't show!.. Anyways, I ran spider boxes for all the 120V stuff, GFI breakers in the spiders... & the PTA paid for 30 & 50A GFI breakers for the larger rides... A couple rides would not allow the GFI to reset & I told them they have problems with their equiptment & they need to get it straightened out.. (They werent happy to say the least) one of em had neutral & ground bonded together in a control cabinet..
But guess what, everyone had a good time & everyone went home at the end of the night! One thing I've learned is whenever kids & electricity come together.. expect ANYTHING!!!
Re: Update on electrocuted boy at fair#39070 06/09/0408:51 AM06/09/0408:51 AM
Lake County Fair Electrician, Nick Rock, was found guilty yesterday by a Lake County Common Pleas Jury of reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter. The 80 year old was convicted for his role in the death of 8 year old Greyson Yoe who was killed at last year’s Lake County Fair after being shocked by an improperly grounded ride. Rock will not likely be sentenced to prison and is eligible for parole. He remains free on bond and will be sentenced next month. Prosecutors said that Rock did not floow National Electric Code guidelines when he hooked the ride up to electricity. A frayed wire that was not properly grounded caused the electrical current to pass through Greyson’s body. Two State Ride inspectors have also been charged in the case as has the ride’s owner.
Jury finds Lake fair electrician guilty Lineman held responsible for boy's electrocution Wednesday, June 09, 2004 Maggi Martin Plain Dealer Reporter
The man who for 40 years provided the electrical connections that powered the Lake County Fair was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide Tuesday in the electrocution of 8-year-old Greyson Yoe.
A Lake County jury of six men and six women deliberated five hours before finding Nick Rock, 80, of Mentor, guilty of recklessly causing Greyson's death by improperly connecting wires to a main power line. Rock faces up to five years in prison but could be placed on probation instead.
Greyson suffered a severe shock in August while waiting for a bumper car ride and died five weeks later. Outside the courtroom after the verdict, wiping tears from their eyes, his parents declined to comment.
Rock appeared stunned as the verdict was read. He and his lawyer, Neil Wilson, also declined to comment afterward.
Assistant County Prosecutors Karen Kowall and Mark Bartolotta said they hoped the conviction would send a message to ride owners and fair managers across the country. "This case should serve as a wake-up call to amusement park owners that they have a greater responsibility than selling tickets and setting up rides," Kowall said. "Hopefully it will have a ripple effect in improving safety standards."
Rock failed to connect a green grounding wire that several electrical experts said would have prevented the shock that killed Greyson.
"No one is going to say he is a bad guy," Bartolotta said. "He used bad judgment and the unfortunate results were a tragedy."
But Rock is not the only one to blame for Greyson's death, prosecutors said.
Two ride inspectors, the ride owner and supervisor all face similar charges.
Rock spent more than 40 years setting up rides, concession stands and booths at the fair. His wife, Betty, is known as the voice of the fair for her announcements during the festivities. Rock also helped set up other functions and festivals at the fairgrounds.
He testified that he thought the ride was grounded elsewhere and that he was never told to connect the grounding wire.
Kowall said they have sympathy for Rock, considering his age and long record of community involvement.
"This case was sad. It was an overwhelming tragedy," Kowall said. "But it was also a preventable act. This little boy did not have to die."
To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:
Re: Update on electrocuted boy at fair#39071 06/09/0409:16 AM06/09/0409:16 AM
Unbelievable...... I really find it hard to accept that a lineman of 40 years could not understand the significance of a grounding wire, or that he could just leave it hanging, thinking that the ride was grounded elsewhere.
I knew the importance of connecting the grren wire by the time I was about 8.
Re: Update on electrocuted boy at fair#39073 06/09/0403:12 PM06/09/0403:12 PM
I'm glad there are so many guys with safety awareness in here.
At a newly installed garden pavillion in my Uncle's garden, there were 3 Light fixtures (metal baseplate and curved white glass cover). These could be reached by their 7yr old boy, and it happened one glass got smashed by a ball and fell down. What i saw made me want to kick this electricians butt very hard. GND wire (insulated in Germany) was just folded 180 degrees and left unconnected, next to a virgin base ground screw. Now what time or work did the idiot save by not connecting the wire? and what did he have in his brain besides %§~*, seeing this kid run around.
I always think misrating circuit fuses, loose connections ect may not happen, but they can. but no ground may never ever happen. DIYers may think light works, so why connect this one, but electricians bring shame on their business doing such bodge.
Assuring the gnd is intact is in an emergecy easy as holding a neon lamp phase test scrwdriver and touching a metal part of the appliance to see if there is GND connection.
Didnt the electrician at the fair have to measure for correct voltages and gnd before giving his OK to run ?
[This message has been edited by :andy: (edited 06-09-2004).]