A 21-year-old resident of Portland who lost her life after being electrocuted alongside her boyfriend and brother was heavily pregnant at the time. Tajaliayh Briggs and her boyfriend Nash also succumbed to electrocution when live cables fell on their car on Wednesday.
In an attempt to assist them, Tajaliayh’s 15-year-old brother, Ta’Ron Briggs, was fatally electrocuted after coming into contact with water carrying the high-voltage current, according to Daily Mail.
The young couple were with their 9-month-old son, who miraculously survived the ordeal. Ronald Briggs, the father of Tajaliayh and Ta’Ron, expressed heartbreak over losing two of his children, stating, “It just hurts. Seeing my kids dying — I can’t do nothing about it.” Ronald Briggs is a father of six.
Ronald Briggs recounted that his daughter, her partner, and their grandson had visited his home after their Wi-Fi stopped working during the recent ice storm. As they departed from his house, Ronald Briggs and his wife also got into their vehicle to head to a store when they heard a loud noise. Describing the incident, Ronald Briggs said, “We heard a loud boom. And my wife’s like, ‘Oh my god, their car is on fire.”
After the power line fell on top of their red SUV near Northeast Siskiyou Street and Northeast 122nd Avenue, everyone jumped outside on the ice, KGW reported.
“They were walking up the hill, and they slid back down,” Ronald Briggs said. “My daughter tried to grab her boyfriend, her baby’s dad with the baby, and his foot touched the wire.”
Ta’Ron Briggs, urged by his father not to approach the scene, ran out to assist the couple. Despite the warning, he touched the water, resulting in his death. Ta’Ron Briggs was described as a sophomore football player at Milwaukie High School. Ronald Briggs’ grandson miraculously survived the ordeal, laying on top of his father, Nash.
Tajaliayh Briggs and her boyfriend died as electricity passed through the car, them, and into the ground when their feet touched the pavement. According to a neighbor, Majiah Washington, who witnessed the incident, the couple was loading their young son into the vehicle when disaster struck.
Another neighbor shouted to get the baby out of the vehicle, and as Tajaliayh Briggs’ partner Nash slipped, his foot touched the fallen live cables.
Tajaliayh Briggs and her younger brother also came into contact with the live supply. Washington, reacting quickly, managed to grab the couple’s child after noticing signs of movement, describing the moment as surreal, with everything seemingly happening in slow motion.
“I just thought, ‘I have a nephew myself, I have little brothers, I just hope someone else would do the same thing, I would think that someone else would do the same thing.”‘
A representative from Portland Fire and Rescue, Rick Graves, said that had the victims stayed inside the vehicle during the incident, the tragic outcome might have been avoided. Graves explained that firefighters responded to reports of a downed power line and a person on fire, amidst severe winter weather affecting the region.
Upon arrival, firefighters discovered the group of four on the ground outside the car, alongside a fallen branch that had struck a powerline on its descent. The branch, as seen in footage from the scene, fell directly onto the vehicle.
When the individuals’ feet touched the ground and their bodies made contact with the car, they became part of the active electrical circuit, leading to their deaths, according to Graves.
As of Wednesday, the region has reported at least 10 weather-related deaths following the recent severe weather conditions.