Teen dies in freak accident at work Youth electrocuted while vacuuming at Circuit City job

October 24, 1995|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,SUN STAFF

Seventeen-year-old James Hill dreamed of becoming a landscape artist and building a house on a lot next to his parents' Pasadena home someday. But a freak accident Sunday night snatched his dreams away.

The 1995 graduate of DeMatha High School was electrocuted while vacuuming a floor at the Circuit City store at 78 Mountain Road in Pasadena. James, of the 200 block of Brookfield Road in Pasadena, was pronounced dead at North Arundel Hospital just after 11 p.m. Sunday.

Anne Arundel police said yesterday that James, a part-time employee at the electronics store, was vacuuming the floor in a back room shortly after 7:30 p.m. when sales manager Steve Monoiodis and Laurie Hendricks, another employee, heard a scream.

They ran into the room and found the teen-ager holding the handle of the vacuum cleaner and leaning against a metal shelf in obvious pain, police said.

Mr. Monoiodis told police he touched either James or the vacuum cleaner and was shocked slightly. Mr. Monoiodis unplugged the vacuum and the teen-ager fell to the floor, police said. Police arrived about a minute later, and Officer Eric A. Gennett and John Odenat, another employee, began CPR on Mr. Hill. Officer Gennett said that when he arrived, James' lips were turning blue.

An employee called Patti Miller, James' mother and told her that her son had passed out.

Mrs. Miller said yesterday that paramedics were working on her son when she arrived, but that she knew he was dead.

"I looked into his eyes and they weren't brown, they were hazed," Mrs. Miller said. "I tried to give him my strength."

A paramedic unit continued trying to revive the teen as he was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Police said they do not know what happened to the vacuum cleaner to cause the accident, but they do not suspect foul play.

Managers closed the Circuit City store yesterday morning, and Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Administration workers were there investigating the cause of the accident. The store reopened about 1 p.m.

Bill Robbins, the store manager referred all questions to Circuit City headquarters.

Mrs. Miller said her son, who graduated in June from DeMatha, an all-boys Catholic high school in Hyattsville, enjoyed drawing, playing ice hockey and being outside. She said he had recently enrolled at Anne Arundel Community College and that he began working at Circuit City only two weeks ago.

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