The government watchdog in charge of reviewing safe power poles did not investigate how more than two dozen people became trapped in their vehicles after power lines fell until after 10 Investigates launched its own probe.
Fifteen poles fell along Hamilton Road on June 29 during harsh storms that caused thousands in damage around Ohio, according to the Mifflin Township Fire Department. One 911 caller said that her husband's foot was severed by a fallen pole.
"It was like a domino theory," said John Hill, who was driving as power poles began to snap around him. "One came down, another came down."
Henry Eckhart, who once ran the government watchdog, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, said that he was appalled.
"To think a whole line of poles would fall and trap people in their cars, it was shocking," Eckhart said. "The PUCO ought to be on top of this."
Eckhart said that PUCO officials should have gone out to investigate shortly after the storm. AEP Ohio officials said that they had no plans to investigate the fallen poles and would not comment further.
"That's the best time to investigate what happened, how it happened and prevent it from happening again," Eckhart said.
Tonight at 11:00 p.m. on 10TV News HD, investigative reporter Paul Aker gets answers about why no one from the PUCO investigated the cause of the fallen poles. He also discovered there have been concerns about how aggressively PUCO officials have investigated issues in the past.