Student identified in safety equipment accident
SORRENTO – The student from River Parish’s College Ascension Campus who authorities said died in a training accident earlier today has been identified.
Chief Deputy Tony Bacala with the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office said 19-year-old Joshua Wallace was climbing a utility pole this morning as part of the electric line technician course when the accident happened. The campus is on Airline Highway in Sorrento.
Witnesses said Wallace was adjusting the safety arm harness on the pole when it came loose, fell off and hit him in the head. He was wearing a helmet at the time but still died from blunt force trauma rather than the fall. Wallace was no more than five feet off the ground. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Students at the scene said safety is the number one lesson taught during the course.
Authorities said the incident seems to have been a freak accident rather than a failure to observe safety procedures. It is still under investigation at this time. The electric line technician program is currently suspended pending completion of the investigation.
One former classmate said it's still difficult to accept the loss of a friend.
"He was just an awesome young man who came from a hard life, but he was trying to make something of himself, and he worked really hard on everything that he did out here," said Tim Anderson, who took the course with Wallace.
Wallace was just two months away from graduating in his field.
Classes will resume at the RPCC- Ascension Campus on Monday, Nov. 1 at 7 a.m. Grief counselors will be available to offer student and staff support.