3 electrocuted in Idaho ditch; 1 tried to save dog

3 electrocuted in Idaho irrigation ditch; woman tried to save dog then 2 tried to rescue her

Associated Press

BLACKFOOT, Idaho (AP) -- An assistant track and field coach at Idaho State University was one of three people who were electrocuted in an irrigation ditch — the coach after apparently trying to rescue a dog and two others who went into the water in an attempt to rescue her.

Bingham County officials found the bodies Thursday about three miles northwest of Blackfoot.

Jacquelyn R. Paulson, 31, of Blackfoot, was reported missing at about 9:30 p.m. when she didn't return from a search for the family dog, sheriff's Capt. Mark Crowley said.

Two Blackfoot men — Michael Lance Hicks, 41, and Preston Keith Tarpley, 49 — apparently went in the water to rescue Paulson and also were electrocuted.

An irrigation pump in the area had shorted out and was sending a current through the water, Crowley said.

Idaho Power, a unit of IdaCorp Inc., shut off the power in the area so rescuers could recover the bodies.

Paulson was going into her ninth season an assistant track and field coach at Idaho State. She was a two-time NCAA All-American in the heptathlon at ISU and competed in the event in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Trials, finishing eighth in 2008. She also competed internationally.

"She was the pride of our program," said ISU head track and field coach Dave Nielsen. "She was like a daughter to me. This is so untimely and tragic that I just don't know what else to say."

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