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Family Seeks $100M for Estate of Teacher, 31, Fatally Struck by Fallen Utility Pole

by Venus Sanders

Tragedy struck as a high school teacher from South Carolina lost her life in a shocking accident during her lunch break. Jeunelle Robinson, a 31-year-old educator at Wagener-Salley High School, was struck by a utility pole that became airborne following a collision involving a tractor-trailer and eight powerlines at an intersection in Wagener, SC. This heart-wrenching incident occurred on August 23, approximately 40 miles southwest of Columbia.

The unfortunate event unfolded when the tractor-trailer became entangled with the powerlines, causing the poles to collapse. Tragically, one of these falling poles struck the well-loved social studies teacher. Witnesses recounted Robinson's valiant effort to evade the oncoming pole before the freak accident occurred. Following the incident, emergency responders swiftly transported Robinson to Aiken Regional Medical Centers and subsequently airlifted her to Augusta University Medical Center. Despite their efforts, she was pronounced dead at the medical center.


In the aftermath of this devastating loss, Robinson's family is seeking justice and accountability. They are pursuing a $100 million compensation for her estate, along with the establishment of a $10 million trust to create an annual scholarship in Robinson's honor. The scholarship would support Aiken County college students aspiring to become teachers.


Robinson's family, represented by Bamberg Legal LLC, contends that the tragic accident could have been avoided with proper utility pole inspections. The attorney for the family, Rep. Justin Bamberg, asserts that a decades-old wooden utility pole like the one involved in the incident should not have collapsed if adequate inspections were conducted. In response, the family's legal team is demanding that utility companies allocate $20 million toward enhancing local power infrastructure. Additionally, they are seeking $100 million as reparation for the anguish endured by the Robinson family due to this tragic incident.


Bamberg emphasizes that the accident's ultimate responsibility rests on the utility companies that were responsible for maintaining the utility poles at the intersection. He condemns the "utter and complete failure" on the part of these entities, expressing deep regret that a life as promising as Jeunelle Robinson's was cut short due to negligence.


The passing of Jeunelle Robinson, who had been in her second year of teaching social studies at Wagener-Salley High School, has left a profound impact on the school community. In a statement, school officials conveyed their grief over the loss, highlighting her authenticity and kindness. Robinson's interactions with colleagues and students had forged meaningful relationships, and her presence was cherished by all who knew her.


The tragic incident has prompted a series of cancellations at the school, underscoring the depth of sorrow felt by the school community. The football team decided to cancel their scheduled Friday night game, sharing the announcement on their official Facebook page. Similarly, a volleyball game and an open house were canceled as gestures of respect and mourning for Robinson's passing.


As the investigation into this heartbreaking incident continues, it serves as a stark reminder of the importance of safety measures and proper maintenance. The plea for accountability and change made by Robinson's family underscores the need for stringent inspection protocols to prevent such tragic accidents in the future. In honoring Jeunelle Robinson's memory through a scholarship, her legacy will continue to inspire and support the aspirations of future educators.

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