Family Members Looking For Answers as Pole Line Worker Recovers from 80 Foot Fall at UMC


Michael DeShawn Ray, 25, who had been working on a pole line project in Hale County, fell 80 feet from a tower on February 3, the Department of Public Safety reported. On Tuesday, his family said there are still waiting for answers about what happened. 

Brittaney Ray, Michael’s niece, has been updating about her uncle’s condition for weeks. 

Michael was transported by AeroCare to UMC after his fall and has remained there since. Michael is from Gordon, Alabama, and his family who has been in Lubbock since the fall is asking for prayers as he recovers. 

Brittaney was shocked when she heard about Michael’s fall,  she was at work at the time. “I completely shut down at work, because Michael is a very responsible young man, I have no idea how this could have happened” Brittaney said. 

Immediately after his fall, Michael was listed in critical condition at University Medical Center and was still in critical condition as of February 10. On  February 16 Michael was listed in serious condition and by February 23 his condition had improved to satisfactory. 

On Tuesday, Brittaney said Michael still couldn’t move or communicate much.  He interacts with his  family through blinks and squeezes of  his hand. 

Brittaney said that Michael’s family had been told initially that he had no broken bones after his fall and that his biggest concern was the head trauma he received. After more than a week of being in the hospital, doctors discovered that his leg was fractured as well, Brittaney said. Michael’s attorney, Charlton Pope, added that Michael has fractured ribs as well. 

Brittaney explained that Michael had to undergo surgery in the last week, and while his condition is improving, his family is in the dark about what caused his fall. 

 “We haven’t been contacted by anyone pertaining to Michael’s fall, we’re still waiting to hear something back from anyone, we want answers,” Brittaney said.

Because Michael can’t communicate what happened to him, the fall remains a mystery to his family.

As of February 23, both the Occupational Safey and Health Administration and the company Michael was employed by, North Houston Pole Line Company, said their investigations of the fall are ongoing. Representatives had been sent to the site of the accident– near County Road P and FM 54 near Abernathy– to investigate. Both OSHA and NHPLC declined to comment any further about what happened there.

“If there were other people who were present at the time, we want them to come forward and say what happened,” Brittaney said. “Or if OSHA could give us a little more insight about what they’ve come up with at this time. I mean we would like to know something, this is our loved one that has been seriously injured. It’s basically a mystery to the family, we’re in the blind here.”

“We want to know what happened. We want them to do a full investigation, to do a thorough investigation to prevent this from happening to anyone else,” Brittaney said. “It’s not just about Michael. It’s about everybody else that does this job because this could have been a fatality.”

Brittaney explained that Michael is a hard worker and beloved by his family who has been traveling back and forth from Alabama to visit him at UMC. She explained that Michael is engaged to be married and has a two-year-old son.  She added that Michael’s boss and coworkers have been visiting him at UMC as well, they were also saddened by his fall. 

His family welcomes prayers as well as support on their gofundme page for Michael’s medical expenses. 

His attorney explained that at this point the family’s first priority is getting Michael healed. They are hoping Michael will be well enough to be transferred to a hospital closer to his relatives in Alabama. 

“Michael is obviously a fighter, it’s one of those things where at this point it’s just a waiting game trying to see how he’s gonna recover,” Pope said.

“He is a strong guy. He’s a fighter.  He gives it all he has, before he had fallen and now,” Brittaney said. “He is still proving to his family, to his friends that he’s a fighter. He’s not giving up and that’s what keeps us going. his strength keeps us going.”

Brittaney said Michael’s family is optimistic he will make a full recovery, but they are asking for prayers to help him get there. 

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