‘Devastating’: High school teacher dies after power pole falls on her during lunch break

According to officials, a South Carolina teacher, 31-year-old Jeunelle Robinson, was killed by a fallen power pole earlier this month. (Source: WRDW)
Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 4:15 PM CDT
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WAGENER, S.C. (WRDW/Gray News) - A high school teacher in South Carolina has died after a power pole fell on her while she was walking earlier this month.

WRDW reports that 31-year-old Jeunelle Robinson was walking on Main Street in Wagener when a tractor-trailer struck overhead powerlines causing a power pole to fall on her last week.

Witnesses said Robinson was walking on her lunch break from Wagener-Salley High School. She tried to get out of the way but couldn’t.

The tragedy has left the town in shock.

“Our prayers are with her,” Wagener Mayor Michael Miller said.

The community held a special prayer a day after the crash in honor of Robinson.

“It’s hard for small towns to make it in certain situations that nobody is prepared for,” Miller said.

Robinson was a social studies teacher at the school.

According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, power lines were seen on the ground as rescue crews responded to the scene.

Miller said law enforcement and emergency responders did everything they could.

Robinson was taken to Aiken Regional and then flown to Augusta University, troopers said.

According to Dominion Energy, the truck broke several utility poles and brought down energized lines.

After Robinson’s death, school officials paused daily after-school activities, including a weekend football game.

“This tragedy is devastating to all of us as Ms. Robinson was in her second year teaching social studies at Wagener-Salley. Over the past year, she became friends with numerous colleagues and developed meaningful relationships with many of our students,” the school said in a statement. “She was genuine and sweet to everyone she encountered, her time here feels much too short.”

The Wagener Police Department added, “Our thoughts and prayers are with Wagner Salley High School staff, students and teachers. We are praying hard for the family and friends of the injured teacher. May God touch and heal each and every one of you.”

This week, attorney Justin Bamberg spoke on behalf of the Robinson family.

The family hasn’t currently filed a lawsuit.

However, Bamberg said what happened to Robinson was an avoidable risk due to the infrastructure problems found in rural America, saying the poles that went down were potentially more than six decades old and suffered severe wood rot.