Father sues PSE over daughter’s death

A wrongful death suit was recently filed against Puget Sound Energy for the death of a Bonney Lake graduate three years ago.

The victim, Madeline Roskie, 18, was reported inner-tubing in the Puyallup River with her boyfriend when she suddenly fell unconscious on Aug. 2, 2014. She was pronounced dead shortly after East Pierce Fire and Rescue arrived on the scene.

The wrongful death suit, filed by her father Earl Roskie on Aug. 1, 2017, alleges PSE and four unknown people were negligent in their responsibilities, which led to Roskie’s death.

According to the complaint, Roskie was inner-tubing adjacent from the 16100 block and the 96th Street bridge over the Puyallup River.

That site, the complaint alleges, also houses an irrigation pump on the west side of the river, south of 96th St. East and approximately in the 9800 block. The pump is connected to an irrigation pipe that leads into the river.

Earl Roskie claims that PSE, as well the four unknown owners or lessees, are responsible for maintaining the pump and the pipe.

According to the complaint, Roskie and her boyfriend inner-tubed down the river once without any apparent issues on Aug. 2.

Earl Roskie Wrongful Death complaint.pdf by Ray Still on Scribd

However, while waiting in their tubes at the edge of the river for their friends to show, Roskie allegedly complained her legs were going numb.

“Within seconds, she became unconscious,” the complaint reads. “She had not experienced any blunt trauma, did not drown, and had no drugs, alcohol or toxins in her system to account for her death.”

Her boyfriend, Bryce Terry, swam her back to shore to give her CPR. Terry allegedly also experienced a tingling sensation in his fingers.

On Aug. 22, 2014, the complaint alleges PSE reported to East Pierce that a technician found a 280V to ground issue at the irrigation pump nearby where Roskie died.

“Over the past few days we have received information that there could be some sort of electrical hazard on the river,” Assistant Chief Ed Goodlet emailed to the department on Aug. 22, 2014, but no specifics of the issue were mentioned.

(Read the full email collection between East Pierce administration and the Pierce County Medical Examiners here.)

On Aug. 25, 2014, PSE contacted East Pierce a second time, saying the company found the issue and it was scheduled for repair, the complaint alleges.

Goodlet again addressed the department on Aug. 25, 2014, saying PSE found an issue and “assured me the amount of stray power is fairly insignificant, very isolated, and does not pose a safety concern for the public or responders. He suggested the amount of current would be much less than even a low energy electric fence and in a very small area (a few feet) from the source, believed to be an irrigation draft pipe that enters the water South of the 96th bridge.”

On the same day, East Pierce also received an email from the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s office, telling the department the medical examiner was “concerned an electrical hazard in or near the water at that location may have caused this girl’s death,” although “autopsy results are inconclusive as to an anatomic cause of death.”

It’s alleged PSE alerted Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries about the electrical hazard on Aug. 27, 2014.

Another email from Goodlet to the Medical Examiner’s Office on Aug. 27, 2014 stated Goodlet just talked to PSE and the company “indicated there (sic) technicians found a 208V to ground issue at the pump. This is a bit more significant than what I was told before as being less than an electric fence but he has no idea how much voltage could be going into the river nor how much of the river could be impacted. We agreed that he would call L&I (Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries) immediately and let them do a site visit and deal with the property owner.”

L&I was contacted for their site report, but were still searching for the report by deadline.

PSE did not return requests for comment.