Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Medical examiner: Christopher G. Johnson’s cause of death was electrocution and the manner was accidental in in Gold Bar fter walking into a downed power line

Photo by Kelly Sullivan: Christopher G. Johnson was killed after walking into a downed power line in the 1300 block of Croft Avenue on March 27, near the Mountain View Diner.

Kelly Sullivan, Monitor staff writer
4/25/2017 12:22 AM

This month the Snohomish County, WA Medical Examiner’s Office released the cause and manner of death for two men who met untimely fates in Gold Bar.


Christopher G. Johnson, 53, of Everett walked into a downed power line in the 1300 block of Croft Avenue on March 27. He was found near the Mountain View Diner off U.S. Highway 2.  A restaurant employee was taking out the trash when he spotted Johnson laying on a long gravel pathway that parallels the railroad tracks and runs behind the diner.

Video surveillance showed the man was wearing a hat and had his head down at the time, the employee’s coworker Jamie Ferguson had told the Monitor. Johnson didn’t see the wire, which was still live and dangling at head level when he walked right into it, she said.

Fire District 26 responded to the scene. Fire Chief Eric Andrews said it was immediately apparent Johnson had died. Employees of the Snohomish County Public Utility District came and shut down the power from the 115,000-volt line owned by Puget Sound Energy.

Janet Kim, spokesperson for PSE said the investigation is still ongoing at this time as to why the line fell in the first place, but it hoping to have a more complete update in the near future.

Devices are installed to shut down power from downed lines, but sometimes will fail. It is advised to stay at least 60 feet away from a broken wire in case it is still live.

The medical examiner determined Johnson’s cause of death was electrocution and the manner was accidental.

Olson house fire

Richard Olson, 68, died from smoke inhalation when his home in the 43100 block of May Creek Road caught fire on March 20.

His family said the death was a surprise because they were expecting Olson’s death would be from the colon cancer he was diagnosed with four years ago. His condition had noticeably deteriorated in recent months and the disease was Stage IV.

Fire District 26 responders were the first to arrive around 9 p.m. that night. The structure was fully involved, and King County Fire District 50 and Snohomish County Fire Districts 5 and 7 were called to bring in back-up emergency water tanks or tenders.

The area didn’t have hydrants the firefighters could use. The roof collapsed within 10 minutes of District 26 firefighters arriving.

Olson’s son, Paul, who lives in Las Vegas, said he had a hard time imagining his father was not awake for the fire.

“I am more concerned about that he might have sat there and watched the fire,” had told the Monitor for an article earlier this month. “I have a hard time believing he wasn’t awake and watching it. That is just my biggest fear. The house is what it is. At the end of the day, it was monetary stuff that was lost.”

The medical examiner found no suspicious activity involved, and family and friends guess Olson was too weak to walk out by the time it started. A local church group had been at the home less than one hour before.

His longtime girlfriend Pamela Lacasse, 67, of Sultan, and friend Steve Fayden said they would remember Olson as a loyal and loving person.