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St. Charles man in critical condition after powerline incident

LEWISTON — A St. Charles man deemed a hero in April after potentially saving a stranger's life is fighting for his own life after a powerline incident stopped his heartbeat and breathing on Tuesday afternoon.

Jesse Allyn Halling, 31, and a co-worker were cutting down a tree branch across from the Lewiston Fire Department when disaster struck. A steel cable was secured to a limb overhanging a powerline, but the cable still contacted the live line while Halling was touching it on the ground.

Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand said the ensuing electrical shock literally knocked Halling out of his shoes, created visible burn marks on the grass and totally stopped Halling's respiration and heartbeat. The incident occurred at 4:17 p.m.

Emergency responders used three shocks from a defibrillator to restore Halling's heartbeat before airlifting him to Gunderson Medical Center.

"They brought him around to living again," Brand said.


He's since been transferred to Regions Hospital's Burn Center in St. Paul, where a spokesperson said Thursday that he is in critical condition.

Another incident with a powerline — on April 6 in Rochester — was dramatic in a much different fashion.

An 18-year-old Eyota man, Joshua Seibert, had collided with a power pole on U.S. 14. With power lines down on the road and motorists at a virtual standstill, Halling moved forward to investigate. He saw Seibert stuck inside his vehicle, which upside down in the ditch and smoking, and rushed forward to help.

"I jumped out of my car and ran up to it and actually slapped the vehicle first because I saw that the power line wires were down," Halling told the Post-Bulletin this spring. "I didn't know if it was probably a bad idea, but I could see the person's feet through the window, and I'm like, 'I gotta try.'"

Halling found Seibert initially unresponsive before helping him get out of the vehicle as emergency responders arrived to douse the nearby fire.

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