MOULTRIE -- The family of the young inmate electrocuted during a county work detail June 24 has requested the maintenance log and insurance information on a county crane used during the accident which may have been defective.

"It seems there's enough there to warrant an investigation at this point, looking at public records, and depending on what we find, we would file a law suit if we can't get some type of resolution of it in advance," Atlanta attorney Ron Dobelstein said.

Around 11 a.m., while on a small work crew repairing a wooden bridge on Carol Willis Road, Anthony Paul Goodyear, 19, of Mobile, Ala., was sliding a metal plate under a crane stabilizer when the boom of the crane rotated, hitting a power line. The shock killed him instantly.

Some county officials suspect the brake on the boom may have failed or come off.

Agent Ronnie Thompson of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said its investigation is still pending. The Colquitt County Sheriff's Office has conducted its own investigation alongside the GBI and has ruled out any foul play, Sheriff Al Whittington said. However, the CCSO will not pursue any investigation regarding the cause of the accident. The proper authorities within the Georgia Department of Corrections were unavailable as of press time.

The county has only this one crane, and with it pulled out of service, the county has begun looking at leases and purchase prices for a new crane and contracting options for bridge repair. Still pending is the engineer's report from the insurance company to determine whether the machine is still usable, County Administrator Brian Marlowe said.

Colquitt County purchased the 20-ton crane in 1994 as military surplus from the Department of Administrative Services for $4,000. A new one today would cost more than $400,000.

"I don't think you would buy anything unless it was operational and safe," Marlowe said, adding he saw nothing in the crane's documents that would indicate there was a problem with the machine when the county bought it.

At a recent county commission meeting, Commissioner Ray Norman said he understood the crane had a history of problems, including getting into power lines. Norman expressed the machine should have been taken out of service before the accident.

A crane manufacturer has contacted the county and will also come to look over the piece of equipment in the next week, Marlowe said.



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