On April 1, California 17-year-olds Jacob Schneider and Jacob Hourmouzus jumped into a canal from a metal bridge to save a dog that had fallen in. When they grabbed the same bridge to pull themselves out, they were electrocuted. The Solano Irrigation District has now agreed to pay $7 million to the family of each boy, the Sacramento Bee reports. The families filed a legal complaint in June, alleging that the utility's employees had jury-rigged a breaker without properly grounding the system, which "could and did allow the metal walking bridge to become electrically energized, resulting in fatal injuries to the users of the bridge."
The district said that while the cause of the tragedy "has not been fully determined," it is "committed to ensuring that an accident like this is never repeated." It said it has also settled claims with two boys who were shocked but survived. Attorney Robert Buccola, who represented Jacob Schneider's family, says the utility provided assurances that "immediate and swift action was taken following the happening of this unthinkable tragedy to make certain that other electrical delivery systems with similar characteristics were free from the dangerous defects," CBS13 reports. He says the family plans to use the settlement to help those in need, including students in the high school class "that Jake would have graduated in, had he not been fatally injured." (Read more California stories.)