Oak Hill Man Dies After Being Electrocuted

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An unforeseen tragedy Friday evening has left a void in future Jackson County Fairs, as well as in the hearts of the people who knew and loved one 38-year-old Oak Hill man.

The annual livestock sale had only been underway for a couple of hours when a deluge of rain struck the arena and surrounding food booths, causing electrical wires and cords to be laying or standing in water, posing a threat to those coming in contact with them.

Ryan N. Potter, 38, of Oak Hill, was cooking in the Cattlemen’s Food tent on Friday, July 19, at approximately 6:33 p.m. when he apparently stepped on an electrical wire that jolted him with electricity three or four times.

After the incident, Potter remained conscious, but complained of a numb feeling in one of his legs, chest and an arm. Dr. Alyce Frazier was on the grounds and she evaluated Potter and determined he should go to the hospital for further evaluation.

Family members drove Potter to Holzer Medical Center-Jackson where bloodwork and x-rays were taken. The medical staff recommended Potter be transferred by ambulance to Grant Medical Center or Cabell Huntington Hospital. Potter went to Cabell-Huntington by his family, and was admitted. Potter remained in the hospital Saturday, July 20, where he died at approximately 10:40 p.m. from what are believed to have been complications from being electrocuted Friday night.

Reportedly, Jackson County Coroner Gregory Hawker was contacted by conference call at approximately 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning by Jackson County Sheriff Tedd Frazier and the West Virginia Medical Examiner to see if he wanted to take over jurisdiction of the case. The West Virginia State Medical Examiner had listed the cause of death as an electrocution.

Hawker stated he had the body sent to Columbus for an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Hawker said that several complications can occur after a person has been electrocuted, so he hopes the autopsy will clarify exactly what claimed Potter’s life.

Potter was a 1993 graduate of Oak Hill High School and was the administrator for the Jackson County Soil and Water Conservation District. He was known as P-Funk when he worked as a disc jockey, was a Past Master of Portland Lodge 366, attended most of the Lady Oaks basketball games, and loved attending and camping at dirt track races. His friends say he had a wonderful sense of humor and was a great guy.

He was well-known and appeared to have been loved by all who knew him, including Sheriff Frazier who said he was devastated by the news. “We have been good friends for a long time,” Frazier stated.

Potter’s wake will be at the Lewis-Gillum Funeral Home in Oak Hill on Wednesday, July 24, from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and one hour prior to the funeral services, which will be held Thursday, July 25, at 1 p.m. Masonic services will take place on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a college fund for his nephews, Elijah and Evan Potter, at the Milton Banking Company c/o Brandon Potter.