NILES, Mich. – A Michigan City man was killed while working on an overhead electrical line in Southwest Michigan late Friday morning, according to police.
Cass County (Michigan) Sheriff Richard Behnke said Friday afternoon that his office is investigating an "accidental electrocution" that happened just after 11:30 a.m. in an unincorporated area about four miles northwest of Niles, Michigan.
The incident occurred in the 2700 block of White Street in Howard Township, according to the sheriff's department. Emergency personnel were called to the AEP Kenzie Creek Substation, which is undergoing construction, according to police.
First responders found Steven E. Smith, 53, of Michigan City, was "electrocuted while working on the overhead power lines," according to the sheriff.
"First aid was immediately administered to Smith, but he succumbed to his injuries from the incident," Behnke said.
The incident remains under investigation, he said.
AEP, American Electric Power, is the parent company of I&M, Indiana Michigan Power.
A statement from the company said: "On the morning of Friday, May 31, a contractor working in Niles, Michigan, with Indiana Michigan Power was fatally injured. The I&M family expresses our deepest condolences to the contractor’s friends and loved ones."
The company referred all other questions to the sheriff's department.
The work was part of the $75 million Cass County Area Improvements Project, which has been ongoing since early 2016 and is expected to wrap up this summer, according to the AEP website. The project "enhances the electric transmission system in Cass and St. Joseph counties" by connecting the Kenzie Creek and Corey Substations in Michigan.
Pokagan Tribal Police, the Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service and the Howard Township Fire Department also responded to the accident scene.