Illinois Power, Illinois Bell sued over distracted man's trip on loose wire

Kelly Holleran Nov. 8, 2010, 10:43am

A Cahokia man has filed suit against Illinois Bell Telephone and Illinois Power, saying they are to blame for him tripping and falling over a loose wire lying on the ground.

Jesse J. Smith claims he was walking on the hill in front of his mobile home at 2313 Jerome Lane toward his friend Willie Hunt's mobile home on Aug. 17, 2009, when the incident occurred.

Just before tripping on the wire, Smith became distracted by a transformer owned by Illinois Power that was making noise and producing sparks, according to the complaint filed Oct. 27 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Because he was looking at the transformer and not the ground, Smith tripped on the wire, which had detached from a telephone pole, and fell to the ground, injuring his right shoulder, according to the complaint filed Oct. 27 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

In addition to his right shoulder injury, Smith became disabled, lost his normal life, faces an increased risk of future harm and lost wages, the suit states.

He blames Illinois Bell Telephone Company for negligently allowing its wire to become detached from its telephone pole and for failing to repair the wire.

Smith also blames Illinois Power Company for negligently failing to maintain its transformer and for allowing the transformer to fail.

In his two-count complaint, Smith is seeking a judgment of more than $100,000, plus costs.

He will be represented by William J. Knapp and Del A. Goldenhersh of Knapp, Ohl and Green in Edwardsville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-564.

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