Ariz. Man Hit With 69,000 Volts Suspected of Copper Theft

Aug. 9, 2013
Emergency personnel helped a 34-year-old man zapped with high voltage as he allegedly attempted to steal copper wire from a power pole.

Aug. 09--The man seriously injured Tuesday morning near Wellton when about 69,000 volts of electricity coursed through his body has been identified by police as 34-year-old Joshua Hess.

According to the Wellton Fire Department, at about 7:30 a.m. emergency personnel were dispatched to the area of Avenue 25E and North Frontage Road, located just off Interstate 8 a few miles east of Telegraph Pass, in response to a report of a man who had possibly been electrocuted by downed power lines.

Once on scene, emergency personnel found Hess on the ground with severe burns throughout his body.

Due to the severity of his injuries, Hess was flown directly to the Arizona Burn Center in Maricopa County via helicopter.

Hess, whose leg was amputated by doctors Tuesday in an attempt to save his life, was still listed in critical condition Thursday.

During their initial investigation, deputies determined Hess was allegedly attempting to steal copper wire from a wooden utility power pole. The wire was stapled to the pole and attached to a static line for grounding purposes. As Hess pulled the copper wire off of the pole, it brushed up against the live power lines, delivering a 69,000 volt shock into the suspect's body.

When Hess made connection with the wire, he created a circuit connecting the electricity with the ground and became a conduit for the electricity, causing serious damage from his hand down through his leg where the electricity exited.

Hess, who lives in the Wellton area, is also being investigated in connection to numerous other scrap metal theft cases.

YCSO encourages anyone with information about this case or other related incidents to call them at 783-4427 or 78-CRIME to remain anonymous.

Hess has been investigated by YCSO for unrelated crimes in the past. In early May, he was arrested for allegedly using counterfeit money and illegally possessing a firearm.

He was arrested after officers with the Wellton Police Department, aided by Border Patrol agents, executed a search warrant at 29110 Napa Ave. in Wellton.

Police had been searching for Hess, who was being investigated for the alleged use of counterfeit U.S. currency in and around the Wellton area.

Hess was located at the residence and was reportedly in possession of a firearm, which was illegal because he is a prohibited possessor.

Copyright 2013 - The Sun, Yuma, Ariz.

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