Neighbors Recall Horror of Seeing Woman Electrocuted During Hurricane Sandy

By Joe ParzialeEwa Kern-Jedrychowska and Julie Shapiro  on November 1, 2012 7:51am

SOUTH RICHMOND HILL — Neighbors on Thursday recalled watching in horror when a Queens woman was electrocuted earlier this week while trying to capture footage of Hurricane Sandy.

Lauren Abraham, 23, was barefoot in her front yard at 105-05 134th St. shooting video of the storm on her iPhone about 8:30 p.m. when she tripped and fell on a power line that had been knocked down by heavy winds, police and neighbors said.

"All we heard was one last scream," said Renny Bhagratti, who was watching helplessly from his second-floor window across the street. "She dropped back like a dead sack of potatoes."

Another man was trailing just a few yards behind also carrying a video camera. Cops arrived at the scene moments later and were able to stop the man from grabbing onto her, said Michelle Stephenson, 40, another neighbor.

"They saw him trying to get after her, and they managed to tackle him and hold him back," Stephenson said. "If not for that, we could be talking about two people dead here today."

The electrocution left a large black charred mark at the foot of the driveway, which neighbors said was a chilling reminder.

"My whole family hasn't slept, hasn't eaten," Bhagratti said. "We're all trying to forget what happened."

Bhagratti described Abraham as a thoughtful, polite young woman, and that her mother was working in a Connecticut hospital at the time of the incident. She was in disbelief when Bhagratti and his wife broke the news to her.

"She got weak at her knees and collapsed in the middle of the street," Bhagratti said. "She said, 'Not my Lauren. Please not my Lauren.'"

Abraham's family was in front of her home Tuesday but was too distraught to speak with reporters.

"I can't believe that," Abraham's devastated brother said over and over.

Stephenson said she was horrified Abraham had "paid such a horrible price" for venturing out into the storm.

"It's moments like these," Stephenson said, "where you say, 'Well I have no power, I have no heat, but I have my life.'"

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