WAGENER, S.C. – A South Carolina high school teacher died after she was struck by a utility pole that was hit by a tractor-trailer while she walked down a street during her lunch break, authorities said.
Robinson was a social studies teacher at Wagener-Salley High School, according to WJBF-TV.
She was walking south during her lunch break on Main Street in Wagener when a tractor-trailer traveling in the opposite direction struck overhead power lines, the Chronicle reported. That caused eight utility poles to fall and one struck Robinson directly, according to The Associated Press.
She died later that day at Augusta University Medical Center.
“It’s hard for small towns to make it in certain situations that nobody is prepared for,” Wagener Mayor Michael Miller told WRDW-TV.
In a message posted on the school’s website, Wagener-Salley High School Principal Rasheem Neloms said Robinson was only in her second year at the school.
“Over the past year, she became friends with numerous colleagues and developed meaningful relationships with many of our students,” the message read. “Genuine and sweet to everyone she encountered, her time here at our school and on this earth feels much too short.”
On Tuesday, Robinson’s family said the town’s poor infrastructure caused an avoidable death, the AP reported.
State Rep. Justin Bamberg, an attorney representing the family, said the poles in Wagener had been rotting.
“The utter and complete failure from a lot of people who have more money than the state of South Carolina took her,” Bamberg said, according to the news organization.
The family is seeking $130 million in damages, the Aiken Standard reported.
During a news conference on Tuesday, Miller, 69, said he recognized a soft drink bottle cap that he had nailed to one of the poles six decades ago.
“You would not see a pole like some of those that we have in town here in Columbia or Aiken or Augusta,” Miller told the AP. “It’s just part of being a country town.”
Donovan Julian, Robinson’s father, said his daughter loved people, enjoyed church and was loved by her family, friends and students, the Standard reported.
“Those (students) were her kids,” Julian said. “Her light and warmth will be missed.”
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