Oak Lawn is now officially lit up

Jared Pearce

Back in July we told you that the Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats had finally convinced the city to install 45 new streetlights in the Oak Lawn area, in response to the group’s Light Up Oak Lawn safety campaign.

This morning, DSYD President Jared Pearce informs Instant Tea that he’s received word from the city that all of the new streetlights have now been installed.

“We are excited that, after much time was spent evaluating the need, conducting resarch, auditing the neighborhood and working with our elected leaders and city officials, we are able to finally see the results of what DSYD started a year and a half ago and, most importantly, a safer community in which we can all live and play,” Pearce said.

—  John Wright

Officials: Oak Lawn man likely electrocuted after crossing crime scene tape near power line

Dallas Fire-Rescue officials investigate an apparent elecrocution on Lahoma Street in Oak Lawn this morning. The man’s body was found on the opposite side of the fence from where the investigators are standing. Part of the power line that is believed to have killed the man can be seen dangling from the tree above. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

A unidentified man found dead in Oak Lawn this morning likely crossed crime-scene tape surrounding a downed power line and was electrocuted, according to Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans.

Evans said Fire Rescue crews responded to a report of a downed power line at the Sycamore Tree Apartments, at 5051 Lahoma St., at 10:08 p.m. Tuesday. They cordoned off the area around the power line and waited for crews from Oncor to arrive.

While the area was cordoned off, a resident of the apartment complex wondered into it and was apparently electrocuted, Evans said. The victim’s roommate told authorities they had been out drinking at a bar. The roommate had gone to bed when the victim, whose identity has not been confirmed, went outside. He wasn’t found until shortly before 7 this morning by someone from the apartment complex’s management.

“Based on statements that we’ve gathered from one lady that claimed she heard a scream, and the alleged roommate who claims that they came home after drinking … that puts him inside the perimeter after we had already established it,” Evans told Instant Tea. “We pretty much sat on the lines all night, outside the apartment gate. Apparently sometime between then and this morning that person walked through the perimeter and ended up like he was this morning.”

The victim was found just inside a wrought-iron fence surrounding the 96-unit complex, in a backyard area between an apartment unit and a wall that runs along the pool. A neighbor said most of the people who live in the area are gay. The victim is believed to be a member of the LGBT community, and Instant Tea is working to confirm his identity.

Evans said the Medical Examiner’s Office, which removed the man’s body this morning, will determine an official cause of death.

The tree that took out the power line was felled by a strong thunderstorm that moved through the area on Tuesday night. The storm cut a swath across north Oak Lawn from Love Field to Highland Park.

More photos and a video report from Fox 4 below.

UPDATE: The victim has been identified as 35-year-old Robert Ragan, and the Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed that Ragan died from accidental electrocution.

Ragan was gay and has been active in the local bear and leather communities, as well as the United Court system, according to reports. He had also worked as a gay porn actor/model who went by the name Robert Elephante.

According to his Facebook profile, Ragan graduated from Mesquite High School in 1994 and the University of Texas at Dallas in 2006, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

A man listed as Ragan’s boyfriend on Facebook couldn’t immediately be reached.

The man’s body was found in the area where this tree limb fell.

—  John Wright