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Downed electrical lines keep teen in truck for a hour

BALDWIN -- A Baldwin teenager who sat tight for an hour in his ditched pickup Sunday may have saved his own life by waiting patiently while nearby emergency crews waited for a St. Croix Electric lineman to interupt power to a pole that lay across the truck.

"The occupant did exactly what he should have," said Disa McClellan, communications and events specialist with St. Croix Electric Cooperative. "People need to consider (a line) to be hot until they learn otherwise."

Todd Klund, 17, was traveling westbound on 80th Avenue at highway speed when he lost control of his pickup on the snow-covered road, entered the north ditch then swerved back onto the road and hit the south ditch.

In the process, his yellow truck sheered off a power pole, which subsequently fell onto the pickup at about 2:55 p.m., according to the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department.

Klund apparently used his cell phone to call 9-1-1.

The deputy who responded said he could see Klund moving about in the truck, uninjured, but the arcing line was too close to risk exiting the vehicle. He told the boy to remain still.

United Fire and Baldwin Ambulance were already on the way when it was determined the pole was owned by St. Croix Electric.

McClellan said the utility was called at 2:56 p.m. but it took about an hour for a lineman to respond to the office, pick up a truck and drive to the scene just northeast of city limits. The line was de-energized about 4 p.m., cutting power to 23 coop customers. Within 30 minutes, electricity was rerouted to restore all but one account -- the home nearest the accident scene.

Line crews replaced the pole and had all power restored by about 8 p.m.

"He was lucky kid," a sheriff's department employee said.