BPU documents reveal dispatch delay in electrocution case

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Internal BPU documents obtained by 41 Action News reveal the electric utility waited for nearly seven hours before officially dispatching a crew to repair the downed power line in Rosedale Park, which would electrocute a Shawnee man in the early morning hours of June 16.

The BPU service request shows a crew assigned to check on the line at 10:56 p.m. on Saturday, June 15.

BPU had previously acknowledged its dispatchers were made aware of the downed line shortly after 4 p.m. that day. At 3 a.m. Sunday, June 16, 27-year old Nicholas Moeder stepped on the line while playing disc golf, and was fatally electrocuted.

All told, the live powerline which came down in a summer squall remained unattended by the electric utility for more than 11 hours.

The service request also shows that BPU dispatchers labeled the repair job a mid-level priority. It was marked with a 2 for "urgent" on a three-point scale, in which a 1 denotes a "critical" repair and a 3 is "standard."

Notes on the service request indicate that by the time a BPU crew arrived on the scene at Rosedale, an "injury and a fatality" had already occurred.

Other BPU documents released Thursday show the utility received 553 calls for service from June 15-16, a heavy load brought on by a weekend storm.

The documents leave some critical questions unanswered; namely why the assigned crew did not respond to the service request in the nearly four-hour window between when it was issued and when Moeder stepped on the wire.

A BPU spokesman declined requests for an on-the-record comment on this story, citing pending civil litigation relating to the case.

Some of that litigation will come from Moeder's family members. His mother and father have each hired lawyers and signaled their intent to sue the electric utility in what they say is the wrongful death of their son.

On Thursday, Moeder's mother's attorney reviewed the documents and said they raise some disturbing questions.

"This is incredibly troubling," the attorney, Chad Beaver, said. "I mean, if they sat on this for seven hours and did nothing about it for seven hours, that's a big problem."

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