Family of woman who was killed by downed power line sues BGE

March 09, 2006|By JULIE BYKOWICZ | JULIE BYKOWICZ,SUN REPORTER

The family of a Baltimore woman who was electrocuted last month when a power line fell onto her boyfriend's parked recreational vehicle filed suit yesterday against Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.

A buzzing sound awoke Gloria Wilson, 52, and Gary L. Dart, 44, early Feb. 12 - the day of this winter's biggest snowstorm - and Wilson was electrocuted when she touched a metal handle as she tried to get out of the vehicle.

Dart was not seriously injured. The vehicle, which was his home and was legally parked outside his employer in Southeast Baltimore, was ruined in a fire ignited by the downed line.

"It's like a nightmare to me," Dart said in an interview.

BGE spokeswoman Linda Foy said she could not comment on the lawsuit because she had not seen it. BGE is subsidiary of Constellation Energy Group, and the lawsuit names both.

Dart and Wilson's two adult children are suing in Baltimore Circuit Court for $175 million. The lawsuit alleges that BGE "negligently serviced, maintained, inspected, monitored and improperly secured the high-voltage power line."

"The figure we're asking represents the enormity of death," said attorney David Ellin, who represents Dart and the children.

Ellin said there is no evidence that the snowstorm played a role in the accident. The vehicle was parked in the 6300 block of Cleveland Ave. outside Chesapeake Maintenance Co., for which Dart drives a tractor-trailer.

"BGE really neglected this area," Ellin said. Some of the utility poles were at 45-degree angles and the lines were "in disrepair," he said.

Since the accident, Dart said, he has seen BGE crews working in the area regularly.

Dart said he and Wilson had dated for 15 years and planned to marry in May.

He said he saw the orange glow of the electrical current as Wilson opened the door and watched as the force of the electrocution propelled her 10 feet across the street. He said he found her lifeless and covered with blisters.

A Baltimore Fire Department spokesman confirmed last month that Wilson had been electrocuted by a downed power line.

Bobbi Jo Wilson, 33, said her mother, a factory worker, was "very upbeat and outgoing."

"She always had a smile on her face," she said. "And her last words to you would always be, `I love you,' no matter who you were."

Wilson is also survived by a 26-year-old son, Steven Ammons, and two grandchildren.

"She still had her whole life ahead of her," Bobbi Jo Wilson said. "This is a tragedy."

julie.bykowicz@baltsun.com

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