Originally created 11/07/97

Student electrocuted during shop class

CARNESVILLE, Ga. -- Franklin County authorities plan to call for outside help to investigate the death of a 17-year-old senior at Franklin County High School who was electrocuted during shop class.

Jeremiah Nix died Monday afternoon after more than 500 volts of electricity passed through his body during a class session designed to teach students the proper use of a voltmeter.

The student apparently touched the probes that attached the voltmeter, which was in contact with a wire leading from a step transformer, said Franklin County Sheriff's Department Investigator Jim LeCroy.

"Right now we're trying to figure out how and why he got his fingers into the probes," Investigator LeCroy said.

The student died at Cobb Memorial Hospital shortly after the fatal electric shock, authorities said.

Franklin County Sheriff Hugh Roach said he and Franklin County School Superintendent Thomas Bridges would try to determine Tuesday just what agency should inspect the classroom where the accident happened about 2:30 p.m. Monday.

Several agencies were contacted Tuesday, including the state Department of Education and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Mr. Bridges said.

Sheriff Roach said he will also ask for the help of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Foul play is not suspected in Nix's death, according to police.

Investigator LeCroy said the electrocution appeared accidental and he didn't "foresee any criminal intent."

He said about 24 students were in the room in an electromechanical class at the time. The voltage in the wires was "at least 500," he said.

The teen-ager was killed when the current transferred to his body, Franklin County Coroner David Pressley said. No other students were hurt.

The classroom has been closed pending inspection, Mr. Bridges said. The instructor, whom Bridges said was a 25-year veteran with no previous safety problems, is devastated by the accident.

"Actually, we're trying to find out what went on, what happened, what caused it," Investigator LeCroy said. Police and counselors talked with other students in the shop class Tuesday.


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