Friends, coworkers mourn the death of MLGW lineman

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Friends and co-workers are still morning the loss of an MLGW lineman who was killed while on-the-job earlier this week.

Thursday, Earnest Holliday spoke death of his co-worker, 42-year-old Reggie Payne, who was killed in a job-related accident Tuesday.

"I've known Reggie for over 20 years, and it's a tragic situation," Holliday said.

Payne was a crew leader and lineman in Electric Distribution.  Tuesday afternoon, he and another employee were performing routine transmission maintenance off Highway 51 in Millington when part of a pole fell and struck him.

The other worker was also injured.

"A lot of things happen, and it's usually a freak of nature," Holliday said. "It's kinda like a car wheel just falling off a car - not something you're going to see everyday.  I've never heard of this happening, and when it did it was a total shock."

MLGW workers say safety has always been top priority.

"We have meetings every morning," Holliday said. "We have different devices to enhance our safety."

But Holliday says Payne's death is a constant reminder to everyone about the dangerous work employees perform everyday.

"Primarily we have to stay focused," he said. "Always look out for your fellow man, because this is such a dangerous job. We have to have additional eyes."

While Payne gave his life serving the customers of Shelby County, his colleagues say his dedication will not be forgotten.

Payne's death was the first on-the-job fatality for MLGW since 2001.  The utility is still investigating the cause of the incident.

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