Construction accident in Carlton County claims life of Aitkin man
An Aitkin man died in a construction accident in Carlton County on Thursday, less than three weeks after a friend and fellow Hill City native died in a car crash.
Richard "Rick" Washburn, 30, a 2000 graduate of Hill City High School who was living in Aitkin, died in the construction accident near Wright, in far western Carlton County. The Carlton County Sheriff's Office said officers were called at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday to a report of a man who had been electrocuted while working at the corner of Center and East Mud Lake roads.
Washburn had been working for Ulland Brothers. The incident is being investigated by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration; no further details on the nature of the accident were available Saturday.
Washburn had two children -- a son and daughter, ages 5 and 2. He was devoted to his family and loved hunting and fishing, said his girlfriend, Jessica Kelly.
"He loved anything outdoors, family, friends," said Kelly, who had known Washburn for more than a decade and is the mother of his children. "He was a good dad, loved his kids. He was just a real average up-north boy."
Washburn recently had been mourning the loss of a close friend, 1998 Hill City High School graduate Robert "Robbie" King, who died in a car crash near Remer on Sept. 16.
"He was having a tough time with that," Kelly said.
Washburn got a tattoo to honor King's memory, Kelly said. A photo of the tattoo was posted on Washburn's Facebook page. It read, "Death is certain; life is not."
Hill City, a town of about 600 people, is in northern Aitkin County about 75 miles west of Duluth.
Washburn is survived by Kelly and his children, his parents, a brother and stepbrother, and other relatives and friends.
Service information can be found in the linked obituary.