Welcome! The Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives (AREA) is a member-owned federation of 22 electric distribution cooperatives.

Linemen killed by drunken driver

The entire electric utility family was heartbroken to learn of the deaths of three linemen – two from North Carolina, and one from Chipley, Fla. – who were killed after a hit-and-run crash that authorities said involved a drunken driver.


A 37-year-old man from Tampa Bay, John R. Goedtke, ran away from the scene but was later arrested. Records show he had an extensive record of traffic and other arrests.


He’s charged with DUI manslaughter, felony vehicular homicide, felony leaving the scene and possibly other charges, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.


The linemen were working in Washington County, Fla., helping to restore power in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.


Killed were George Cesil, 52, and Ryan Barrett, 22, both of North Carolina and who both worked for Lee Electrical Contractors, and James “Bo” Ussery, 60, of Chipley, who worked for West Florida EC.


To make a donation to the Ussery family, funds may be sent to Lynn Ussery, 1547 Williams Road, Chipley, FL 32428.


To make a donation in memory of George Cesil, see the GoFundMe account set up by a family friend.


To make a donation in memory of Ryan Barrett, the family asks that checks be sent to the Ryan Barrett Memorial Lineman Scholarship Fund. The address is NCC Foundation, 522 North Old Carriage Road, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Checks should be payable to NCC Foundation-Ryan Barrett, and the memo line on the check must include Ryan Barrett Scholarship Fund.