City of Columbus settles with young electrocution victim

May 6, 2004

The city of Columbus has reached a $1 million settlement with the family of a nine-year-old boy who was electrocuted when he touched a lamppost on a downtown bridge.

Willie Wagner died last May 22nd as he tried to squeeze between a fence and the lamppost while walking home from COSI.

Family attorney Gerry Leeseberg says Willie's mother, Tina Brown, agreed to settle to avoid the trauma of a lawsuit.

Leeseberg says Brown hopes the city is safer now that city inspectors examined about 17-thousand light poles since the accident.

An inspector found that improper insulation in the lamp base allowed a lethal charge to flow through the boy to the fence.

City attorney spokesman Scott Varner says reaching a settlement avoids a long lawsuit and continued trauma to the Wagner family.

Varner says the pole met standards when it was installed.

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