DIXON (CBS SF) — Two days after two 17-year-old boys were fatally electrocuted in a Dixon canal, the Solano Irrigation District is consulting lawyers about liability concerns in the deadly incident.
The Solano Irrigation District owns and operates the canal in which the two boys lost their lives off of Dixon Avenue West near I-80. The district met for the first time since the boys were killed in a special meeting Wednesday called to discuss their deaths and the possibility that the district could face “significant exposure to litigation.”
Board President John Kluge started the meeting with a moment of silence to honor the boys. “It’s a tragic, tragic accident,” said Kluge.
The meeting was adjourned to a closed session to discuss the boys’ deaths.
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Jacob Schneider and Jacob Hoursmouszus were walking along the canal Monday afternoon when a dog fell into the water. The two boys jumped into the water to rescue the dog and tried to pull themselves to safety using a metal bridge.
The bridge was energized, fatally electrocuting them both.
Stacie Andersen lives across the street from the canal. She was friends with Jake Hoursmouszus and attended Tuesday night’s packed vigil for the two boys.
“I know Jake and Jacob were watching. They appreciate everyone who went and they love everybody,” said Andersen.
At the canal, there are barriers here and signs that read “No Trespassing,” but neighbors say historically, people have ignored those signs and walked along the canals or through the orchards anyway. A little further down you’ll see that bridge where those two boys tried to pull themselves to safety.
The question remains: how did that bridge get energized? The Solano Irrigation District has been tight lipped.
District spokesperson Janet Zimmerman could not answer questions about how often the bridge and canal are inspected, maintained or why the bridge was electrified.
When asked about the last time the bridge and canal were inspected, Zimmerman said she didn’t know. “And that’s part of the information that’s being collected as part of the investigation for the sheriff’s department,” she said.
“We are cooperating with the Sheriff’s department on the investigation and we don’t know exactly what happened. We’re waiting for the final report.”
Zimmerman said the deaths of the teens have been particularly hard on the small community. “People know each other. Employees of the district know the families. Some of them knew the boys and it’s wrenching. It’s heart-wrenching,” she said.
The Solano County Sheriff confirms the electricity came from an SID box, though the cause of the accident is still under investigation. The sheriff (and Zimmerman, initially) would not agree to talk on camera Wednesday.
“No answer? No response? I wouldn’t respond either if I was at fault,” said Jake Hoursmouszus’ mother, Candy Carrillo.
She wants someone to be held accountable.
“Especially when you just killed two teenage boys because you failed your responsibility and showed neglect,” Carrillo said.
KPIX on Wednesday spoke with PG&E personnel, who arrived on scene to cut power to the area Monday. They said the power line is owned and operated by the irrigation district and that they have no knowledge of what went wrong.