Electrocution of Hanford man ruled an accident

The death of a 51-year-old Hanford man who was electrocuted Wednesday while unloading grain from his tanker truck has been ruled an accident, Fresno County Coroner’s officials said Thursday.

Officials say it was around 3:15 p.m. when truck driver Luis Santos attempted to drop off a load of grain at a dairy southwest of Easton. Santos had to climb on top of his steel tanker to loosen the grain, which officials said often sticks inside truck trailers since it contains molasses.

Santos climbed up, opened the trailer lid and tried to use a long metal pole to loosen the grain, officials say. But the truck was parked directly below several live power lines, and Santos struck one with the pole. The pole became electrified, shocking Santos and causing him to fall and strike his head.

When Fresno County sheriff’s deputies arrived an hour later, the pole was found standing straight up inside the tanker, still touching the power line. PG&E workers and firefighters were called out as a precautionary measure and California Highway Patrol officers briefly shut down nearby roads to drivers.