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Richard Knutson Inc.


A construction worker was electrocuted when the worker hooked a chain to the bucket of a backhoe that had incidentally made contact with live power lines overhead. Before beginning the project, management warned the workers about the live power lines, but did not seek to have the lines de-energized or put up any safety barriers to prevent workers from being electrocuted. The company violated its own written safety program and certain safety standards in the contract with the city.


Attorney General James Doyle; Assistant Attorney General Daniel O'Brien

Incident Type







May 20, 1991

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First Last Age Title Employer Injury Type
Todd Taylor 22 Construction Worker Richard Knutson Fatality


Name Type Title Plea Information Conviction Sentence
Richard Knutson Inc. Entity Entity Unavailable Jury found guilty of criminal negligence. On appeal, the court affirmed the conviction, explaining that the company had notice that the power lines were present and should have been aware that failing to comply with safety standards while working in proximity to the live power lines created a substantial risk of harm to employees. The company’s failure to take basic safety precautions was a substantial cause of the worker’s death by electrocution.
Penal Crimes Charged

Negligent Homicide by Operation of a Vehicle

Other Crimes Charged