a sign for rowell's waterfront park on a cloudy day
Rowell's Park in Key Largo.

A woman was airlifted to a hospital on July 8 following a reported electrocution at Rowell’s Waterfront Park in Key Largo.

The person was situated near a light pole, which she touched and received a shock, county spokeswoman Kristen Livengood told Keys Weekly. According to the Key Largo Fire Department, “the victim’s husband stated that his wife touched one of the street light poles and was electrocuted.”

The woman was airlifted to Jackson Hospital in Miami in abundance of caution by Key Largo EMS. She was listed in stable condition.

John Tuckus, the husband of the woman who was shocked, told Keys Weekly by phone that they live not far from the park. John said they frequently take their dog on walks to Rowell’s. He said his wife, Elizabeth, simply leaned her hand on the pole and was shocked. He said his wife suffered from a quarter-sized burn mark on her knee as a result of the electrocution.

A section of Rowell’s Park was sectioned off as electricians worked to determine what caused a woman to be electrocuted the evening of July 8. CONTRIBUTED

“She was really messed up last night, twitching and shaking with muscle spasms. She’s doing a little better today,” John told Keys Weekly.

On the morning of July 9, officials with Monroe County Parks and Beaches along with electricians from Wire Nuts had an area near the restrooms cordoned off with yellow tape as they worked to investigate what happened. Wire Nuts was hired by the county to conduct the repairs. Wire Nuts wasn’t involved with the installation of the lighting poles and had nothing to do with the incident.

Livengood said the Florida Keys Electric Cooperative was notified of the incident. FKEC said none of its equipment was involved in the incident.

“All light poles at Rowell’s Park are being checked to make sure they are safe,” Livengood said, adding the park remains open with exception of the area where the incident occurred. 

John said something like this should have never happened. He said “the whole pole was live.”

It wasn’t immediately known what caused the pole to be energized.

“Someone should have caught this. Thank god a child didn’t touch this,” he said. 

An 8-acre waterfront park located along Florida Bay, Rowell’s Park underwent a series of improvements in recent years. The park features new restrooms, shared-use paths, site lighting and electricity and a Wi-Fi network.

As for the lighting posts, Livengood said they were installed roughly two years ago by a subcontractor.

This story was updated to add that Wire Nuts was hired to conduct the repairs. Wire Nuts didn’t install the lighting poles and had nothing to do with the incident. Additionally, no equipment from FKEC was involved in the incident.

Jim McCarthy
Jim McCarthy is one of the many who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures in Western New York. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 5-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club. When he's not working, he's busy chasing his son, Lucas, around the house and enjoying time with family.