Donatus Okhomina, a newly hired electrical lineman at the city of Palo Alto Utilities, attends a two-day orientation for employees, which includes lunch and a bus tour of local landmarks.
6 a.m. — A five-person crew consisting of Okhomina, George "Tom" Haupert, Jose Rivera, Collin Williams and Steven Melo begins work on replacing two transformers at Covenant Presbyterian Church.
9:30 a.m. —The crew is disconnecting the transformers from the utility pole near 670 E. Meadow Drive. Rivera and Okhomina are in separate elevated buckets near the pole, with Okhomina above Rivera.
About 9:40 a.m. — As Rivera unbolts a transformer, Okomina requests a grip from Williams, who relays it to him using a line. Haupert and Melo are standing below, talking.
9:40 - 9:47 a.m. — Okhomina, holding the grip, makes contact with a 4,000-volt power line near the top of the pole. He is instantly electrocuted. Crew members lower the bucket and move the truck. Melo runs to the Mitchell Park Fire Station next door to get help. Battalion Chief Steve Lindsey arrives and administers CPR.
About 10:30 a.m. — Okhomina is taken to Stanford Hospital, where he is pronounced dead. Firefighters stay outside the exits for a salute as he is transported out of the hospital.
Funeral for Donatus Okhomina is held in Dixon. Palo Alto city officials, including City Manager Ed Shikada, Utilities Director Dean Batchelor, Fire Chief Geo Blackshire and Council member Alison Cormack attend, along with an honor guard from the Palo Alto Fire Department.
The City Council passes a special proclamation in honor of Donatus Okhomina.
Cal/OSHA issues eight citations against city of Palo Alto relating to the accident, seven of which are classified as serious and five of which are serious and accident related. These include a failure to ensure that an employee working on an energized high-voltage circuit is properly isolated or insulated and failure to make sure an employee working on exposed energized conductors is covered with suitable protective equipment. The eight citations add up to $104,060 in penalties relating to the incident.
The city appeals all eight citations, arguing that most of the violations were caused by "independent employee action" and that the proposed penalty is unreasonable.
Okhomina's wife, Tammy Okhomina, files a petition for "serious and willful misconduct" against the city, which cites Cal/OSHA's findings and states that the employer failed to provide a safe working environment, which resulted in the electrocution that caused Okhomina's death.
An attorney representing the city responds to the "serious and willful misconduct" petition by denying that the city was responsible for Okhomina's death and arguing his death was caused by "a substantial and unforeseeable deviation" by Okhomina from the job task at hand.
Cal/OSHA notifies the city that the Bureau of Investigations has closed the criminal aspect of the case and that the matter is "now appropriate for resolution of the civil citations."
The city reaches a settlement with Okhomina's family, which includes payments of $30,000 to Tammy Okhomina and $5,000 to her attorney to settle the "serious and willful" claim. The family also receives $580,512.66 in benefits.
The appeals process drags on, with Palo Alto's attorneys and Cal/OSHA holding numerous status conferences.
This story contains 571 words.
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