By Randy Ludlow
Lezlie Combs was walking her Siberian husky in the Iuka Park ravine in the University District when her dog began to jump and “scream.”
She rushed to aid her dog, only to be knocked back by a nasty shock.
The dog then fell over dead as a police officer arrived in response to the woman’s screams for help on Thursday evening.
Voltage apparently seeping from a city electrical conduit buried along Iuka Avenue near the Summit Street bridge electrocuted the husky and shocked Combs. She was not seriously injured.
The Columbus Department of Public Utilities shut off electricity to the street and bridge lights in the vicinity and is investigating the cause of the incident, spokeswoman Laura Young Mohr said yesterday.
It appears to stem from a possible flaw in new electrical lines and lighting installed along Iuka Avenue from 4th Street to Indianola Avenue as part of a near-$100,000 project that concluded last fall, she said.
Combs, 50, who lives in the University District, could not be reached for comment.
“We’re reaching out to the victim,” Mohr said. “We’re obviously very sorry about her loss.”
Combs told police that her dog was electrocuted about 6:25 p.m. on Thursday when it walked into a wet, muddy area near the bottom of the steps that descend into the ravine from Summit Street.
Combs also was “being shocked as she stood next to her dog” during her rescue attempt, according to a police incident report. The ground was soaked from a daylong rain.
An AEP worker was summoned before the electrical lines were determined to be city-owned. The AEP employee found more than 200 volts of electrical current running through the ground where the husky died, the report said.
Combs declined medical treatment and left with her dog’s body.
The city paid $1 million in damages in 2004 to the family of Willie Wagner Jr., a 9-year-old who was electrocuted on May 22, 2003, when he touched a light pole on the Town Street bridge as he was walking home from COSI Columbus.
An investigation determined that a 480-volt line was badly insulated and the lamp in the pole was improperly grounded because of substandard work.