Spotsylvania County, Pennsylvania
Bruce Auchey wanted his son to go to college.
So, he told his co-workers, the biggest chunk of his paycheck from Janney Painting was reserved for making that happen.
Auchey, 49, was on the job Saturday when a bucket truck he was operating struck an overhead power line off Tidewater Trail in Spotsylvania County, sending a bolt of electricity through him that was strong enough to blow the tires off the truck.
Auchey, of Spring Grove, Pa., was declared dead at Mary Washington Hospital shortly after the accident.
His 18-year-old son, Benjamin, a first-year student at York Technical Institute in Pennsylvania, received the news by cell phone.
Auchey had worked for Janney Painting for a little more than two years, said Valarie McClyment, a secretary at the Manchester, Md., firm. The company handles industrial painting and sandblasting.
“Painters and sandblasters can be a rough bunch,” McClyment said, “but he’d come in and be shy and polite.”
Janney workers were preparing to sandblast and paint the outside of the Titan Virginia ready-mix plant along Tidewater Trail when the accident happened at 11:24 a.m. The plant sits on property owned by Vulcan Materials.
According to rescue workers, Auchey was standing outside the bucket truck, operating its arm with external controls. The incident knocked out electricity to 1,800 Dominion Virginia Power customers for about an hour.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating, but it appears what happened was an accident, said Spotsylvania sheriff’s Maj. Howard Smith.
Auchey’s father, Bill, said his son enjoyed trout fishing and hunting, mostly deer and small game. He was also a fan of NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson.
Prior to painting for Janney, Auchey worked in a Pennsylvania foundry and drove a tractor-trailer, his father said. He last saw his son about a week ago when the paint job in Spotsylvania was delayed due to rain.
“He was home just last Wednesday for one day because the weather was rainy and windy, and they couldn’t paint,” said Bill Auchey, who said his son didn’t seem concerned about the local job.
“It was just another day at work,” he said.
His family plans to hold a funeral for Auchey this evening in Hanover, Pa.
In addition to his father and son, Auchey is survived by his mother, Diane; daughter, Sierra, 20; and two brothers. All live in Pennsylvania.