3 killed when electrocuted in rescue attempt

POSTED: 08:21 AM MDT Aug 31, 2012    UPDATED: 05:36 PM MDT Aug 31, 2012 
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BLACKFOOT, Idaho -

Three people were electrocuted after trying to save a dog in Blackfoot on Thursday night.

Sheriff David Johnson said 31-year-old Jacquelyn R. Poulson was reported missing just before 9:30 p.m. Thursday.  He says Poulson had left her home in search of the family dog. When she didn't return, a group of neighbors and family began looking for her along with Bingham County Sheriff's Deputies and Search and Rescue. 

Johnson says the search ended just before 11 p.m., when Poulson and two others, plus the family dog, were found in an irrigation ditch.

Johnson says Poulson had apparently entered the canal after the dog when the two of them were electrocuted. An irrigation pump in the immediate area apparently shorted out, electrifying the water.

The two other victims were 41-year-old Michael Lance Hicks of Blackfoot and 49-year-old Preston Keith Tarpley. Johnson says they apparently entered the water in an attempt to rescue Poulson, and they, too, were electrocuted.

Idaho Power Company responded and shut off all power in the immediate area before rescuers entered the water to recover the bodies.

Idaho State University identifies Jackie Poulson as an assistant coach to the ISU Track and Field team. 

According to a profile on the ISU Athletics web site, she had competed for four years as an athlete at ISU.  She was a two time All American and Big Sky champion in the heptathalon.  She was a participant in the Olympic trials in 2004 and also finished 8th in the 2008 Olympic trials.  She was currently working on a Master's Degree in Health Education and getting her teacher's certificate.