Family of Young Man Electrocuted in Texas Field Sues Oncor for Negligence

Man killed in Williamson County by contact with low-hanging power line

DALLAS – A lawsuit claims the negligence of electricity delivery company Oncor led to the electrocution and wrongful death of a young Texas man earlier this year because the company failed to properly maintain its power lines.

Jacob Darren Biar, 20, was killed on July 21 while helping his father and other family members harvest milo in a Williamson County field. The tragedy occurred after an auger on a grain cart Biar was towing came into contact with a low-hanging Oncor power line and caused a grass fire.

The young man got off the tractor to stamp out the flames, but the line was still energized and it electrified the tractor. His body absorbed the shock of the current, resulting in his electrocution. Biar’s 21st birthday would have been the following day.

According to the lawsuit, despite reports from numerous landowners of low-hanging lines, and open and obvious violations of the National Electric Safety Code, Oncor failed to properly maintain its electric lines from unreasonably dangerous conditions. The lawsuit alleges that the posts supporting the power line were severely rotted, demonstrating clearly that Oncor failed to maintain or inspect its lines.

“Oncor’s negligence led to the death of a beloved son and brother,” said Dallas attorney Micah Dortch. He and Maryssa Simpson of the Potts Law Firm and attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel have filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Biar family.

“One of the purposes of the lawsuit is to change how Oncor manages its power lines so that other families do not have to face the same tragic loss as the Biars,” Dortch said.

Biar, from the Central Texas town of Thrall, was studying agriculture at Tarleton State University in Stephenville. His life will be honored by the Texas Department of Agriculture at the Texas Agriculture Memorial on Nov. 19, 2018, at the Texas State Capitol in Austin.

The case is Biar v. Oncor Electric Company, No. CC-18-05854-D, filed in County Court No. 4 in Dallas County.

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