A South Carolina high school teacher was killed when she was struck by a utility pole as she walked on her lunch break.
Wagener-Salley High School teacher Jeunelle Robinson, 31, was hit by the utility pole that went airborne at an intersection when a tractor-trailer slammed into eight power lines in Wagener, SC, nearly 40 miles southwest of Columbia, on Aug. 23.
The truck snagged onto the power lines and brought down the poles, one of which hit the beloved social studies teacher.
Witnesses told WIS News 10 that the “genuine and sweet” educator tried to get out of the way before the freak accident.
Emergency responses rushed Robinson to Aiken Regional Medical Centers, then airlifted her to Augusta University Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
Relatives of Robinson are seeking $100 million for her estate as well as a $10 million trust for an annual scholarship in Robinson’s name, among other requests, WRDW reported.
An attorney for Robinson’s relatives said the wooden utility pole was decades old and wouldn’t have collapsed if utility companies had conducted an inspection.
Pt 1: Wagener-Salley High School teacher Jeunelle Robinson was walking down the street during lunchtime last Wednesday when her life was senselessly taken after she was hit by a defective utility pole whose rotten wood snapped after the utility lines were hit by a semi. pic.twitter.com/dxFGxG9C8p— Justin Bamberg, Esq. (@JustinBamberg) August 29, 2023
The family, working with Bamberg Legal LLC, is asking that utility companies invest $20 million into local power infrastructure and compensate the Robinson estate with $100 million for the family’s pain and suffering, according to the family’s attorney, state Rep. Justin Bamberg (D-Bamberg).
Bamberg says the family’s request for $10 million to fund a scholarship in Robinson’s name would be for Aiken County college students pursuing careers as teachers.
“This tragedy is devastating to all of us as Ms. Robinson was in her second year teaching social studies at Wagener-Salley,” school officials said in a statement.
“Over the past year, she became friends with numerous colleagues and developed meaningful relationships with many of our students. She was genuine and sweet to everyone she encountered, her time here feels much too short.”
Bamberg believes the accident could have been avoided, putting the blame on the companies that oversaw the utility poles at the intersection.
“The utter and complete failure from a lot of people who have more money than the state of South Carolina took her [Jeunelle Robinson],” said Bamberg, who believes the accident could have been avoided.
Robinson was in her second year teaching at the South Carolina school.
The school’s football team canceled its Friday night game two days after Robinson’s death, when it announced it on its official Facebook page.
The school also canceled a volleyball game and open house after Robinson’s death.