Shiawassee County man electrocuted following Sunday's storm
By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -
The small town of Shaftsburg in Shiawassee County is like many other communities across Mid-Michigan. It was tattooed by the storms that rolled through the area Sunday afternoon. But in this community, the damage is far more than downed trees and power outages.
"You can get through storms, but when it takes a life, it just changes the whole ball game," said resident Sheila Tomanica.
The Shiawasee County Sheriff's Office told TV5 59-year-old Phillip Smith was electrocuted by downed wires Sunday night. First responders found him tangled in high-voltage power lines at about 11:30 p.m. They believe he went outside after hearing a loud boom in his yard.
"It's just a sad, sad thing that this happened to him," said Jim Welch.
Welch was one of Smith's good friends. Welch said Smith went by the nickname "troll" and was one of the good guys in Shaftsburg.
"Troll was probably the best person that, you'd want to ride a river with him, that's a guaranteed thing," said Welch.
Smith also liked to hang out with the guys at Village Market, a grocery store in the small community. Tomanica owns the store and said she saw Smith almost every day.
"It's just, you don't even know what to say when it's something like this that happens, just freak accident like that, there's nothing to say, it's somber," said Tomanica.
And now on the counter inside of her store, there is a donation bucket set up for the Smith family because residents say when a tragedy happens, this community is there to help.
Smith and 21-year-old Jackson County resident Ryan Allen Rickman, who was killed when a tree landed on his vehicle, are two men in the state who died as a result of the storm.
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