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Electrified Floodwater Kills 2 in N.Y. Intersection

August 12, 2004|From Newsday

NEW YORK — A couple were killed Wednesday afternoon when they stepped out of their stalled car into a flooded Queens intersection that had been electrified by a power line felled by lightning, authorities said.

As Alana Berenson, 19, screamed in agony from the fatal 4,000-volt shock to her body, her boyfriend jumped out to save her, according to police and witnesses.

Joseph Cheetham, 23, of Pittsburgh fell dead in the intersection from the electric shock.

The downed power line electrified a body of water that at 150 by 200 feet resembled a small lake, according to Con Edison and fire officials.

Berenson and her boyfriend apparently were not aware of the danger because at least part of the downed line was submerged.

Berenson's red Nissan Sentra stalled at the intersection, the water apparently flooding the engine and electrical system. Residents said the intersection often floods during storms.

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