A TRAGIC DEATH, AN EPIC COURTROOM BATTLE

 

Bad BrakeSuddenly, the power went out.

Carrie Goretzka, at home with her two young daughters and mother-in-law, wondered what was going on. It was a clear and sunny June day. No rain, no storms. Carrie, a petite blonde with a gentle nature, looked out the back window of her house in suburban Pittsburgh and saw flames in a tree off in the distance. She tried to call the power company but the phone was out. So she went to her car for her cell pone (which never worked inside the house) and walked out to the front yard.

And then it happened. The power line fell. it struck Carrie, then wrapped around her and like an angry, venomous serpent. Its electrical current coursed through her body, setting her on fire. By this time, her children had come to the front porch and watched in horror as their mother suffered, unable to move, unable to free herself. She could only moan, enduring torturous pain until help arrived and the power line was removed from her body. But by then it was too late. Carrie Goretzka would die three days later.

What caused the horrific incident would be investigated. Her husband,Mike, it would turn out, had told the power company years earlier that the same line had fallen before, burning his lawn. He had told West Penn Power that he feared for his family's safety. Yet nothing was done. What followed was a civil trial, a trial in which Carrie's family and it's lawyers would try to hold an unrepentant utility responsible for poor maintenance of the line. And to go one step further -- to punish the company for its indifference, for behavior the plaintiffs would claim was reckless and outrageous.Danger Above is the story of that trial.

 

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About the Author

Robert Zausner is the author of Two Boys: Divided by Fortune—United by TragedyBad Brake: Ford Trucks—Deadly When Parked and Dying to Have a Baby—A True Story. He is a former journalist with United Press International and The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he covered government and politics. He has won awards for feature writing and investigative reporting. A graduate of Syracuse University, the author lives in Moorestown, New Jersey, with his wife, Maureen. His daughters, Eve and Jackie, attend college in Philadelphia.​

Other books by Robert Zausner: