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Young Couple Electrocuted in NYC Downpour

August 12, 2004

NEW YORK (AP) _ A young couple who leapt from their car as a flash flood engulfed it at a New York City intersection were electrocuted by a downed power line, authorities said.

Witnesses said the passenger, 19-year-old Alana Berenson, sprang from the car first Wednesday and was swept into the waist-high torrent. Her boyfriend, 23-year-old Joseph Cheethman, jumped out after her.

``He followed her into death,″ Cheetham’s mother, Elanor, told the Daily News. ``I’m just thinking, ‘What a wonderful kid.’ If he had not gone after her, I don’t think he could have lived with himself.″

Authorities believe the couple, both students at SUNY Maritime College, were electrocuted by a downed power line at the intersection in the borough of Queens.

The freakish storms that moved through the city all afternoon also was responsible for lightning strikes near two boys, ages 8 and 13, who were hospitalized. Neither was seriously injured.

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