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Archive for February 2007


Nate Melhorn

I spoke to Nate Melhorn after the tribute to his father Daniel Melhorn, 53 and Marc Neumeyer, 56 was erected. He was and should be proud of his billboard but wants more. He paid $2,000.00 for a one month tribute in the hopes that others will realize the importance of safety.

"They are making the roads safe for others so we should make the roads safe for them. I want to speak face to face to the governor because the phone calls don't cut it."

He also explained the billboard wasn't just for Daniel and Marc but for the others that have been lost in the area . He just can't believe more isn't being done when this has happened before. He is geared up to make a difference so Watch Out Wisconsin! If Nate can do this what can Wisconsin do for Nate and the workers?

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USMWF Humanitarian Award


The USMWF Humanitarian award recognizes extraordinary humanitarian service and activism by individuals or groups, including professional and/or volunteer work conducted primarily for the contributions made for lost workers and their families. For dedication in improving regulations, laws and general working conditions. "Extraordinary Humanitarian Services" are defined as activities initiated by individuals and/or groups, working alone or in association with others to the alleviation of human suffering, protection of life and/or the promotion of heath and safety. Nominees do not have to be in association with USMWF.

Anyone that is involved with families of lost workers, safety and health are aware of the tragedies inflicted by BP; a few of which were on September 2, 2004 and March 23, 2005 /Hazards Magazine. Rarely does big business worry about the consequences of their actions or lack there of but occasionally they cross a path that takes them to a dead end. For BP that dead end was Eva Rowe and Brent Coon two rocks in the road that wouldn’t budge.

Spencer Maus of Jase Consulting, Inc. (211 W. Wacker Dr., Suite 1150, Chicago, Illinois 60606) nominated Ms. Rowe and Mr. Coon for the USMWF Humanitarian Award.

I feel both have made a huge contribution to us all and by vote they were by far one of the leading teams in advancement, recognition, and awareness they have represented the families well. The "Remembering the Fifteen Bill" will be presented to legislators on the anniversary of The last BP tragedy (March 23rd) in Austin TX. This will include the presentation of the first USMWF Humanitarian Award to Ms. Eva Rowe and Mr. Brent Coon. We will have further details soon and will post them on the weekly toll blog.

(Update) BP Settles With Injured Workers in Texas Blast Suits

Nomination of Eva Rowe for Humanitarian Award Application
Nominee:
Eva Rowe

Nomination
On March 23, 2005, Eva Rowe’s parents, James and Linda Rowe, were working as subcontractors for J.E. Merit Constructors Inc. at the BP Chemical Refining plant in Texas City, Texas. On that Good Friday 2005, a terrible and preventable explosion took the lives of Eva’s parents and the lives of 13 others.

On November 9, 2006, Eva and her attorney announced they had reached an unprecedented settlement in her lawsuit against BP over the death of her parents. Unlike other plaintiffs who were only seeking compensation for themselves, Eva fought for an agreement that included the release of sealed BP corporate documents that would have been presented during trial and showed the company’s weak safety record. The release of those documents should not only aid the government’s investigation being lead by Carolyn Merritt, chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, the federal agency which investigates all major chemical disasters, but also force the refinery industry to prevent similar tragedies. The settlement also mandated that at least $30 million in charitable donations be made to three foundations on behalf of the victims. Eva established three separate foundations, by giving $100,000 to each foundation to promote education and training of students seeking careers in refinery and chemical plant safety and process technology, and to research new medical treatments for burn victims. The donations are:
  • $12.5 million to the Texas A&M University Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center, in memory of all 15 people who died in the Texas City explosion.
  • $12.5 million to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Truman G. Blocker Adult Burn Unit, in memory of all 15 people who died in the Texas City explosion. More than 20 victims of the explosion were treated at this facility.
  • $5 million to The College of the Mainland, in Texas City, for safety and process technology training for refinery and chemical plant workers, in memory of all 15 people who died in the Texas City explosion.
  • Also as part of the settlement, BP is required to match up to $2 million of every dollar donated by individuals to each of the foundations.
Finally, Ms. Rowe is helping spearhead the passage of bill in the Texas Legislature to do everything possible to prevent such a tragedy from ever occurring again. The Eva Bill is an amendment to Section 1, Chapter 411 of the Texas State Labor Code. Further, with the help of Nicholas Lampson, the U.S. Congressman from the 22nd District, this important piece of legislation will be introduced in the 110th United States Congress.

I have attached a transcript of the 60 Minutes story which focuses on Ms. Rowe’s bravery in the face of one the largest petroleum companies in the world.


Humanitarian Award Application
Nominee:
Brent A. Coon
Brent A. Coon & Associates
3550 Fannin, Beaumont, TX 77701
409-835-2666



Nomination
On November 9, 2006, Mr. Brent A. Coon, representing Eva Rowe in her lawsuit against BP in the deaths of her parents caused by oil refinery explosion in Texas City, Texas, on March 23, 2005, announced he had reached an unprecedented settlement. The settlement included a “first ever” agreement to release millions of sealed corporate documents that would have been presented during trial.

The settlement also mandated that at least $32 million in charitable donations be made to three foundations on behalf of the victims. Mr. Coon and Ms. Rowe established the three separate foundations, by giving $100,000 each to promote education and training of students seeking careers in refinery and chemical plant safety and process technology, and to research new medical treatments for burn victims. The donations, for which Mr. Coon waived all compensation, are:
  • A $12.5 million donation to the Texas A&M University Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center, in memory of all 15 people who died in the Texas City explosion. The Center was established in 1995 in memory of Ms. O’Connor who was an engineer killed in a Texas City refinery explosion. Ms. Rowe selected the O’Connor Center to help further its work in improving refinery safety.
  • A $12.5 million donation to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Truman G. Blocker Adult Burn Unit, in memory of all 15 people who died in the Texas City explosion. Victims of the explosion were treated at this facility.
  • A $5 million donation to The College of the Mainland, in Texas City, for safety and process technology training for refinery and chemical plant workers, in memory of all 15 people who died in the Texas City explosion. Ms. Rowe wanted to promote education and training of students seeking careers in refinery and chemical plant safety and process technology.
  • A $1 million donation to The Cancer Center at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Rowe, which was their favorite charity.
  • A $1 million donation to support education in Hornbeck, Louisiana schools in memory of Mrs. Rowe. Eva Rowe attended schools there and Mrs. Rowe had been a teacher there before she worked at the BP plant. who died in the Texas City explosion.
  • In addition, BP will match up to $2 million each for any donations made by individuals during the next six months to either Texas A&M, UTMB or College of the Mainland programs, a potential $6 million in additional donations.

Mr. Coon’s work has assisted in a government investigation into the actions, or lack of, that caused the explosion, and 15 deaths at the BP Texas City explosion. This investigation is being lead by Carolyn Merritt, who was appointed by President Bush to be chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, the federal agency which investigates all major chemical disasters. She has partially relied on the documents and findings of Brent Coon & Associates as part of her investigation.

Mr. Coon’s hard work and actions, on behalf of Ms. Rowe, received positive, international, media coverage that reflected a positive light on all attorneys. 60 Minutes, the Today Show, the Wall Street Journal, the Houston Chronicle, the Financial Times, The Times of London, the New York Times and the Associated Press are examples of the positive press received by Mr Coon as a member of the College of the State Bar of Texas.

At his own expense, Mr. Coon continues his hard work on behalf of all Texas citizens, whose lives are dedicated to the important and thriving Texas oil industry. Mr. Coon is spearheading the passage of bill in the Texas Legislature to do everything possible to prevent such a tragedy from ever occurring again. The Eva Bill is an amendment to Section 1, Chapter 411 of the Texas State Labor Code. Further, with the help of Nicholas Lampson, the U.S. Congressman from the 22nd District, this important piece of legislation will be introduced in the 110th United States Congress.

In closing, Mr. Coon’s actions and adherence to the ethics and principals of the Texas State Bar Association and the College of the State Bar of Texas, demonstrates what can be achieved through diligence, hard work and holding not only himself, but also the plaintiffs, to a higher standard. His work proved that long standing precedents can be overturned, that actions for right can overcome might and that the importance of integrity in a courtroom and demonstrated that the high standards the Texas Bar Association and the College of the State Bar of Texas are imperative in achieving justice.

Respectfully submitted,
J. Spencer Maus
JASE Consulting, Inc.
211 W. Wacker Dr., Suite 1150
Chicago, IL 60610
312-397-1960

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Hidden war toll: Nearly 800 contractors killed

Friday, Feb. 16, 2007. Patino, 58, was driving a truck for a Halliburton subsidiary in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Iraq when he was killed in a friendly-fire incident at an Australian checkpoint.

If the contractor deaths were added to the Pentagon's count of U.S. military casualties, the number of war dead would climb about 25 percent, from about 3,000 as of the end of 2006 to nearly 3,800.

If the contractors injured badly enough to be off the job for at least four days were added to the nearly 14,000 U.S. troops requiring medical air transport because of injuries, the injury total would rise by about the same percentage.

If you would like to track the contractors lost in Iraq



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Tonight on MSNBC

MSNBC.com launches investigative series into firefighter safety.

Investigation reveals serious questions about safety equipment and lack of action by the federal government.

Cause for alarm
  • 15 firefighters have died at fires where rescuers weren't given a chance to find them quickly. MSNBC.com's Bill Dedman reports.
  • View in-depth video interviews, a photo gallery and a timeline of events, and learn more about a firefighter's protective equipment.

Documents with this series

You can read these documents online (in PDF files) to learn more about firefighter safety and the warnings that were raised:


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Weekly Toll: Death In The American Workplace

A partial list of workers killed on the job over the past several weeks.


One dead in trench collapse

DALLAS, TX -- One worker died and a second was injured when a trench collapsed Friday afternoon along a light rail line under construction, officials said. The trench collapsed in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas while two workers were helping reset a water line along a planned rail route, said Dallas Area Rapid Transit spokeswoman Morgan Lyons. Firefighters dug through the rubble to find one victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene. The other victim was taken to Baylor University Medical Center.

Neither victim's name was released. Lyons said that both men worked for a subcontractor handling utility work along the line.


Mill worker dies after falling into rice hopper

Dallas, TX -- A rice mill worker fell about 23 feet to his death Friday, apparently from an overhead catwalk, officials said.

Beaumont Rice Mills co-workers looking for Columbus Cotton at end of their shift at 3 a.m. found the man at the bottom of a rice hopper, Beaumont police said. The death appeared to be an accident, police said.

Mill president Louis Broussard said Cotton was about 50 years old and had worked at the mill for six years.


Gas Station Worker Dies in Shooting

MILWAUKEE, WI -- Milwaukee police say a 33-year-old employee of a B-P Gas Station is dead from multiple gunshot wounds.

But a second employee survived a gunshot wound to the side.

Authorities say it's not yet clear whether the two were shot in an apparent robbery. Police say there were no outside witnesses and no customers inside the store when the men were shot before about 8 last night.


Workers killed in Wilson

WILSON, N.C. – Two contract workers are dead -- after possibly being exposed to carbon monoxide at a Wilson plant. City officials said it happened at the Kidde Aerospace plant on Airport Drive around 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

The contract workers (Ethan Jones, 32, of Whitakers and Milton Johnson, 32, of Rocky Mount) were inside cutting concrete when they were overcome by exhaust from a gas-powered saw. Workers at the plant found them...and called 911.


Glendale officer killed during traffic stop

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A Glendale police officer has been killed in the line of duty for the first time in more than two decades.

Authorities said 24-year-old officer Anthony John Holly, a two-year veteran, was fatally shot Monday during a routine traffic stop.

"This is an incredible loss," Glendale Police Chief Steve Conrad said in a news conference outside St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix. "It's extremely traumatic for all of us."


Man, 35, Dies in Fall Down Elevator Shaft

Bronx, NY - The all-night party at a vast Manhattan nightclub was meant to kick off a weekend of revelry for Orlando Valle, who celebrated his 35th birthday on Friday with 10 friends. But instead, according to the police, a fight with a stranger led to a freakish accident, and Mr. Valle, who lived in the Bronx, died after falling head first down an elevator shaft onto an elevator car four stories below. The accident occurred shortly after 4 a.m. yesterday at B.E.D., a sleek club on the sixth floor at 530 West 27th Street in Chelsea. The police, as well as Mr. Valle’s friends and relatives, said Mr. Valle had gotten involved in an argument between one of his friends and two workers at the club.


2 People Killed When Airport Buses Collide

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Two people were killed after a pair of shuttle buses crashed head-on at the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., airport.

Authorities said the driver of one bus and a passenger in the other were killed. A total of eight people are hurt, including two critically.


Firefighter killed battling garage fire in Washington, Pa.

WASHINGTON, Pa. - One firefighter was killed and another injured while battling a blaze early Sunday, officials said. Jeremy LaBella, 27, died after the roof of a former motorcycle shop at the rear of the house collapsed, causing a canopy over a nearby sidewalk to fall on him and another firefighter, George McMillen. LaBella is the first city firefighter to die on the job since 1955, according to Washington Mayor Ken Westcott. McMillen was being treated at Washington Hospital for smoke inhalation and a leg injury. Fire had engulfed the garage and was spreading to an attached two-story house when firefighters arrived at about 9:40 a.m., Fire Chief W. Linn Brookman said. A man who lived at the house escaped without injury. The state police fire marshal was investigating the cause of the fire.


Truck driver killed in I-10 crash is ID'd

CASA GRANDE, AZ — The victim in a fatal Saturday wreck on Interstate 10 that delayed Phoenix-bound traffic for hours has been identified as a 59-year-old Tolleson man.

The wreck initially occurred at about 9:30 a.m. on eastbound I-10 approximately 25 miles south of Phoenix when a Volvo sedan rear-ended a Ford Mustang, sending the Ford into oncoming traffic in the westbound lanes, said Department of Public Safety Officer James Oien.

Clinton D. Elwell, who was driving a westbound tractor-trailer rig, had to swerve to avoid the Mustang, and the truck went into the median and then off the side of the highway, where it rolled, Oien said.


Detroit Newspaper deliveryman killed on east side

Detroit, MI - A Detroit Newspaper Partnership delivery employee was killed this morning as he was loading a newspaper box at Warren and Cope on Detroit’s east side. Police have not released the man’s name, pending family notification. About 5:50 a.m., the 52-year-old man was shot in the thigh and the knee with a shotgun, police spokesman James Tate said today. The man was rushed to St. John’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Police investigating the fatal shooting obtained a lead from witnesses. “A blue 1970s conversion van was seen leaving the scene,” Tate said.


Cabbie killed on duty was new to the job

Minneapolis, MN - Jim Moody had been a cabdriver for only five days before he was shot to death Sunday while picking up a fare in Brooklyn Center, said his sister, Vicki Field. "Our family is grieving right now," she said. "We're very much in shock." Moody, of Brooklyn Park, who had two sons in the Marine Corps, was shot several times while he sat in his cab in a parking lot of the Brook Haven apartments at 3911 65th Av. N., police said. Moody, 46, had spent many years as a tinner and as a repairer of heating and air conditioning systems, Field said. To ease the strain on his body, he began driving for Green and White Taxi, she said.


Goodyear worker dies following accident at Union City plant

Jackson, TN - A worker at Goodyear’s Union City tire plant died Sunday evening at a Memphis hospital from injuries sustained in an industrial accident at the plant site Saturday evening, according to a press release from Goodyear. The name of the employee who died was not released. Union City Plant Manager Todd Turner said in the release that it is too early to speculate about the cause of the accident, but that a full investigation is under way. “Our thoughts and concerns are with the associate’s family at this very difficult time,” Turner said. “As a plant team, we are deeply saddened.”


Man doing yard work killed by front loader

Hialeah, FL - A 58-year-old man died Sunday as he used a front loader to clean up his property in Southwest Ranches, said Keyla Concepción, a spokeswoman for the Broward Sheriff's Office. Miguel Zahlene, of Hialeah, died when his front loader was tipped forward into a ditch leaving him pinned between the seat and a tree. The accident occurred shortly after 2 p.m. on an empty lot adjacent to 5121 SW 210th Ter. Zahlene and his brother, who called 911, were cleaning the lot together. The brother told BSO that he heard the front loader running idle for almost 20 minutes and when he went to check, he saw his brother stuck between the tree and the seat. Zahlene was pronounced dead at the scene by BSO Fire Rescue.


Funeral Held for Questar Employee

American Fork, UT - Family and friends today honored the Questar worker killed in a natural gas explosion. Questar trucks lined the parking lot at Larry Radford's funeral in American Fork. Radford was killed Tuesday when a Saratoga Springs home exploded. His family says he loved his job and died helping others. Radford is survived by his wife, seven children and 10 grandchildren. Funeral services for April Roper, the woman killed in the same explosion, are set for Monday morning.


Warehouse accident leaves trucker dead

MANCHESTER, NH – A Connecticut trucker making a delivery to Northstar Steel and Aluminum Inc. died after he was apparently pinned by a forklift yesterday morning, police said. Roger West, 58, had already been taken to Elliot Hospital when police arrived about 8 a.m. yesterday at the warehouse, which is located at 205 Bouchard St., police said. The address is in the industrial area located just east of the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. West died later at the hospital, Manchester police said.


Brutal killing reminds all of us about risks employees shoulder

Fort Wayne, IN - I can’t get Chad Brunson out of my head. I think about him every day. Chad was shot in the head on New Year’s Eve. He wasn’t at a party like most 23-year-olds, but at work in a pizza store where two robbers who were out to steal a few bucks from the register also murdered Brunson. He was a dedicated, longtime employee who, according to his father, loved his job. I’m sure he also loved his life outside of work and had a lot of dreams well beyond his years. I mourn for Brunson and his family. I am chilled by the senselessness of the killing and the heartlessness and evil that obviously lurks inside his killers.


Labor department confirms worker's cause of death

Charlotte, NC - A preliminary report by the North Carolina Department of Labor confirms that 63-year-old Roy Herman was killed Tuesday when the tree he was cutting down fell on him. Herman was working for the Mooresville-based Ladd Grading, Inc., clearing woods on Beatties Ford Road for a new subdivision, said labor department spokesman Juan Santos. Workers have been clearing trees in the area for months, said Ed Puckett, who lives next to the land between Huntersville and Charlotte. Santos said the investigation was ongoing and would likely be wrapped up within five days.


Woman killed by TUSD truck a 'big-hearted person'

Tucson, AZ - Rosario Solis tried to help everyone, cheering up those who were depressed or upset. She loved life and had plans for the future, including educations for her children and adding on to her Tucson-area home. All that came to an end Tuesday when a Tucson Unified School District mechanic driving a district truck hit and killed Solis, a TUSD bus monitor, as she was crossing the street near a TUSD maintenance facility.


Deckerville man dies in accident

MARION TWP., MI - An employee of the Deckerville Public Works Department was killed and another injured Monday while working near Black River and Range Line roads. Police said James Lee Stolicker, 58, of Deckerville died about 7 a.m. after the pickup truck he was driving rear-ended a utility tractor driven by Tracy Jon Hoff, 42, of Deckerville. Police said Hoff, who was taken to Deckerville Community Hospital with injuries, was clearing snow from the road when Stolicker hit the utility tractor he was driving. Road conditions were not a factor in the accident, Sanilac County sheriff Lt. James Wagester said.


Dunn County Barn Death

Wilson, WI - It appears carbon monoxide killed a 77 year old farmer, his dog and 25 head of cattle. It happened Monday afternoon in the town of Wilson, near the county line in Northern Dunn County. The Sheriff's Department got the emergency call around 1:30 about a man who collapsed in the barn. He and the animals were already dead when rescue crews arrived. The preliminary cause of death is carbon monoxide poisoning from a tractor left running in the barn. Investigators are not releasing the victim's name.


W. Haven minister killed in I-91 crash

WEST HAVEN, CT — Things are going to be difficult without Alan B. Broome, a husband, brother, father, counselor and local minister. Broome’s life ended unexpectedly Monday when the car he was driving on Interstate 91 in North Haven was hit by another car at 4:50 a.m. He was 40. State police said Broome was driving north in the far left lane, south of Exit 13, when another car that was going south on I-91 in the northbound left lane collided with his car. Broome was pronounced dead at the scene.


Cannery worker killed after stack of cardboard falls

Modesto, CA - A worker at a Modesto fruit cannery died Monday of injuries suffered when a dense stack of cardboard fell on him, the Stanislaus County coroner's office reported. Paul Seay, 63, of Ceres was pronounced dead at Memorial Medical Center at 8:41 a.m., 40 minutes after an ambulance was called to the Seneca Foods Corp. plant near Modesto Airport, Deputy Coroner Misty Leach said. Seay's chest was crushed when cardboard stacked on wooden pallets fell and pinned him for an unknown length of time, she said. Other employees did not witness the accident, but they found the injured worker and tried to resuscitate him, Leach said. Other details, including the height of the cardboard stack and the reason it fell, were not available.


Two killed in collapse at Las Vegas casino construction site

LAS VEGAS, NV - Two Las Vegas construction workers are dead after being hit by a three-thousand-pound metal wall form. It fell at the site of work on the M-G-M CityCenter, a seven (b) billion-dollar hotel-casino megaresort on the Las Vegas Strip. Two other workers were injured in the accident Tuesday afternoon. M-G-M Mirage says it's working with occupational safety officials to figure out why the wall form fell.


Flint Metal Fab worker dies after plant incident

FLINT, MI - Woman covered smouldering drum, later died at hospital. There was breaking news in the city of Flint Tuesday, where police say a woman died following an incident at General Motors Corp.'s Flint Metal Fabricating Center. A GM spokesperson said a 50-year-old woman put a lid on a smoldering 55-gallon drum just after 4 a.m. A short while later she collapsed. She was taken to McLaren hospital where Flint police say she later died. The incident is under investigation.


Worker Killed In Tunnel Accident

SEATTLE, WA - One worker has been killed (Michael Bruce Merryman, 49,) and another injured in a construction accident on the Sound Transit light rail line in Seattle. Spokesman Bruce Gray says it happened at 4:20 a.m. Wednesday on the west portal of the tunnel being bored through Beacon Hill near the old Rainier brewery. Gray says a small supply train leaving the tunnel went out of control and collided with a parked train. Two men on the moving train either jumped or were thrown to the ground. Both were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where one died and the other has non-life-threatening injuries. Gray says investigators are still trying to figure out how the accident occurred. He doesn't know how fast the supply train was moving or why it didn't stop. The supply trains consist of a small locomotive and flatbed car that carry equipment and supplies for the boring machine drilling the tunnel for the light rail line.


Worker killed in mobile home collapse

FENNER, N.Y. A Madison County man died today after a mobile home collapsed on him while he was dismantling it. State Police in Morrisville say 21-year-old James Doubleday of Manlius and 20-year-old Timothy Payne Junior of Eaton were dismantling an abandoned trailer at a trailer park for removal. Both men were inside when the structure became unstable and collapsed on them. Doubleday was taken by ambulance to a Syracuse hospital for a possible broken leg. Payne was pronounced dead at the scene.


Firefighter killed racing to blaze

Detroit, MI - A veteran Detroit firefighter died tonight in a traffic accident when his rig was struck by another vehicle on Detroit's west side. Joe Torkos, the fire-engine operator -- or driver -- of Engine Co. 17, was thrown from the cab of his firetruck and was taken to Henry Ford Hospital, according to Dan McNamara, the president of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association. Another firefighter, who was also thrown from the vehicle, was in critical condition and two others on the truck were being observed at Henry Ford Hospital, according to police.


State divers die during routine pump inspection

San Jose, CA - Two divers who were inspecting equipment at a state pumping plant south of Los Banos died Wednesday, the state Department of Water Resources said. The divers were performing what was supposed to be a routine, 20-minute inspection of the Dos Amigos Pumping Plant, about 70 miles southeast of San Jose. "For reasons we don't know yet, they did not come up," department spokeswoman Sue Sims said. She said it was the first time the department had experienced such a tragedy in its diving corps. The Merced County Sheriff's Department identified the divers as Tim Crawford, 56, of the Seaside area and Martin Alvarado, 44, of the Coalinga area. One had been with the department almost 19 years, and the other for six years, spokesman Ted Thomas said.


At Least 4 Deaths in Train-Van Crash at Rural Alabama Crossing

THORSBY, Ala. - At least four men headed to construction jobs in Birmingham and Montgomery were killed and four others were injured Thursday morning when their van collided with a freight train at a rural Alabama crossing in Chilton County. Jesus Clavido said his 19-year-old son, Miguel, was among those killed. He tells The Associated Press the van passengers were all from Mexico and working construction jobs. State Trooper Donald Frazier says the collision occurred about 5:40 a.m. (CST), when it was still dark. The crossing near Thorsby was marked only by a sign that is faded, with one arm of its "X" gone. Frazier says right now officers don't know exactly what happened. The injured were taken by helicopter and ambulances to a Birmingham hospital. Their conditions are not yet available.


Worker Found Dead Of CO Poisoning In Unheated Home

ASHTABULA, Ohio -- A man working on a house renovation project died of carbon monoxide poisoning from unvented fumes while using a portable heater powered by a gas generator, the coroner's office said Thursday. Leroy Crutchfield, 54, of Cleveland, whose body was found Wednesday, apparently had spent the night in the house, chief investigator Richard Mongell of the Ashtabula County coroner's office said. There was no heat or electricity in the house. Outdoor temperatures dropped to 6 degrees on Wednesday. The body was found about 1 p.m. by another worker.


River pilots: Dangers of the job go unchanged for 100 years

Lewes, DE -- Federal river pilot Capt. Lynn Deibert’s fall from a rope ladder as he was climbing to the deck of a coal freighter. Within moments, Delaware River and Bay pilot William Henry Buckaloo, in a watchtower two miles away, was taking action in an attempt to save Deibert’s life.

“When I heard the transmission “man overboard” I sent two pilot boats to the scene to do whatever they could,” said Buckaloo, who is also chief of the Lewes Volunteer Fire Department.

Deibert, 52, is missing and presumed dead after the accident, which happened just after 11 p.m., Feb. 4. Diebert had been climbing aboard the coal freighter Energy Enterprise to navigate the 645-foot vessel into Baltimore. The U.S Coast Guard searched 14 hours for Deibert using a helicopter, airplane and boats before suspending the operation late in the afternoon Feb. 5.


Construction Worker Dies in Fall

Burton, GA - A construction worker in the Low Country lost his life while working on a new subdivision being built in Burton in Beaufort County. New houses are being constructed in the subdivision called Habersham Plantation. Jimmy Cavendar, 42, of Roberta, Georgia, fell some 40 feet while he was working on the roof of a home Wednesday. Ambulance crews rushed him to Beaufort Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.


Blunt force killed men in Highway 44 collision

Shingletown, CA - Two men killed in a fiery head-on collision near Shingletown on Wednesday night died of blunt force trauma in the impact, autopsies revealed Thursday. Names of the drivers, ages 61 and 67, had not been released late Thursday because their families had not been notified, Shasta County Deputy Coroner Lisa Green said. The 67-year-old was from Shingletown, and the 61-year-old was an employee of the U.S. Forest Service and lived in Cottonwood.


Construction Worker Dies After Falling 4 Stories

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Construction Worker Apparently Slipped, Officials Say A construction worker at a condominium complex fell four stories to his death Friday, police said. Tomas Olivera Salinas, 36, of Okeechobee, was working on a steel reinforcing rod between the third and fourth floors when he apparently slipped and plummeted to the ground around 9 a.m., police spokesman Ted White said. Salinas was tethered to the building, but the force of the fall apparently pulled him loose. He landed face down with steel rebar crashing on top of him, White said.


Worker Trapped Under Debris Dies; Another Rescued

DALLAS, TX -- Dallas Fire-Rescue crews recovered the body of a subcontractor for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit rail line in the Deep Ellum area Friday afternoon after rescuing another subcontractor. The rescue and recovery began before 2 p.m. at Malcolm X Boulevard and Elm Street, where the men were relocating a sewer line for the southeast corridor expansion of the DART rail line that runs from Deep Ellum to Baylor Medical Center. The surviving victim was buried up to his knees in debris, and the victim who died was buried several feet under dirt and debris. The victim was identified by the medical examiner's office as 28-year-old Daimyion Mayes of Garland. An autopsy was scheduled for Saturday. It is the first death of a DART rail line subcontractor. The surviving victim was taken to Baylor Medical Center and is expected to be OK.


Trench accident ends family's dreams

Greenwich, CT - It was usually during February that Jose Medina would take time off from his job at Tamarack Country Club to spend time with family. The 59-year-old Puerto Rico native might have spent part of his vacation taking long walks with his wife of 37 years around their house in White Plains, his hazel eyes and fair skin a reminder of what Lina Medina fell in love with when they went on their first date...Medina died Jan. 10 when a trench he was working in at the country club collapsed. Knocked unconscious, Medina was buried up to his neck, the police report said, in about 10,000 pounds of clay, sand and dirt -- the equivalent weight of a small school bus. Medina never regained consciousness, the report said. He was pronounced dead at Greenwich Hospital.


Gunman still at large

TUSTIN, CA - Memorial fund is set up for assistant manager who was killed in brazen daylight robbery. Police investigators were at the Home Depot today, searching for clues in the brazen fatal shooting of a store manager, while employees took collections for their peer's family. No one has been arrested for the murder of Tom Egan, 40, of San Juan Capistrano. The married father of twins was shot dead around 10 a.m. Friday when he approached a man attempting to rob the Tustin Marketplace store.


Man Killed At Madison Waste Water Plant

MADISON, TN - One man was killed after an accident on a job site in Madison Friday. The incident happed at the Dry Creek Waste Water Plant on Eden Wold Road when a backhoe operator hit a construction box of and pushed up against a concrete wall. Another employee was behind the backhoe at the time. Officials said the operator didn't see the other man. The man became trapped between the box and the wall. Trench rescue crews were called in but they were not able to save him. Both men worked for Brassfield and Gory, a private contractor company out of Alabama.


Two killed in shootings along Fulton Industrial

Atlanta, GA - The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office Monday released the name of a man shot and killed early Saturday outside a Fulton Industrial strip club. Shantez Pitts, 34, of Morrow, died of a gunshot wound to the neck, said Mark Gilbeau, an investigator with the medical examiner’s office. After being thrown out of Club Babes on Fulton Industrial Circle about 4 a.m., two men got guns from a car and fired at nightclub security guards, Fulton police Cpl. Gary Syblis said.


Granite Bay Man Dies In Idaho Plane Crash

GRANITE BAY, Calif. - Family and friends in two states are mourning the death of a Granite Bay pilot who was an active member of a local Mormon church. Love and faith are helping those he left behind cope. "I just can’t believe it he was such an experience pilot and I guess that's just what's so hard to understand," says the victim’s Mother-In-Law, Joyce Lund. The family of Jan Meinzer is trying to make peace with their unexpected loss, a father of six, 52-year-old Meinzer died when his plane crashed after take-off from an airport in Idaho. His wife of thirty years says he was a careful pilot.


Hawaii officer dies trying to save others from gunman

Honolulu, HI - The attempt by Deputy Sheriff Daniel Browne-Sanchez to subdue an armed robber did not surprise his family and friends, who said he would always go out of his way to help and protect others. "It seemed he was always concerned about other people's safety over himself, and he would do anything to help out somebody and see that they were put out of harm's (way)," said Deputy Sheriff Andre Jackson yesterday during an emotional news conference. Friends and family members wept as they remembered Browne-Sanchez, 27, a five-year deputy with the state Sheriff Division who was shot and killed by a gunman early Saturday while he was working at his part-time job at Osake Sushi Bar and Lounge on Kapiolani Boulevard


D.M. police officer dies after SUV hits rail, rolls

Des Moines, IA - Sean Wissink, 35, leaves behind a wife, two kids and fond memories of his trademark laugh. A 10-year veteran of the Des Moines Police Department died Sunday morning after a traffic accident he was in while driving to catch a plane to New Mexico for anti-terrorism training. Senior Police Officer Sean Wissink, 35, died after he lost control of the city-owned sport utility vehicle he was driving on Iowa Highway 141 one mile north of Grimes. Investigators believe that about 3:30 a.m. he swerved to avoid a deer, causing the vehicle to hit a guardrail and roll several times down a steep embankment. Wissink was driving from his home in Granger to Des Moines.


Worker dies at UT aquatic facility construction site

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A construction employee died today while working on the new indoor swimming pool facility at the University of Tennessee. The employee's name was not released. Authorities said the worker suffered a head injury and was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. The contractor has not disclosed what exactly happened. The Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center is being built to replace an aging indoor pool nearby.


Man dies in apparent industrial accident at Toledo Jeep plant

OH - Toledo police are looking into what appears to be an industrial accident at the Jeep plant about 6:30 a.m. today. Crews were called to the plant’s emergency gate off Chrysler Drive and found Michael Tiller, a 50-year-old Jeep employee unresponsive. Mr. Tiller, a longtime Jeep employee, was rushed to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center. The Lambertville man was pronounced dead at 7:23 a.m. A police detective and coroner’s investigator also responded, authorities said.


4 killed at Philly business meeting

PHILADELPHIA — An investor who killed three people and himself at a marketing company was upset about losing money in a failed real-estate venture and told his victims to "say your prayers" before he opened fire, police said Tuesday. Vincent J. Dortch, 44, of Newark, Del., brought two handguns to a Monday night meeting he had organized under the pretense that he had another investor who wanted in on the venture, authorities said. Minutes after the meeting started, Dortch told his victims: "You have a minute or two to say your prayers," police Inspector Joseph Fox said. He forced one of two other investors to bind four others with duct tape, then assured the two investors that he did not have a problem with them. The two investors apparently were allowed to leave the room, and Dortch opened fire, hitting the four bound men, police said. Dortch then said, "I have to finish this job," and shot three of the men again in the head at point-blank range, Fox said. He may have deliberately spared the fourth man's life, Fox said. The wounded man, Patrick Sweeney, 31, of Maple Shade, N.J., was listed in critical conditon. Police identified the dead men as Robert Norris, 41, of Newark, Del.; his brother Mark Norris, 46, of Pilesgrove, N.J.; and James Reif, 42, of Endicott, N.Y. The shootings took place in the offices of a marketing company, Zigzag Net Inc., located in the former Philadelphia Navy Yard.


Fire Officials Suspend Burning Of Buildings As Cadet's Death Is Probed

Baltimore, Maryland - Baltimore fire officials agreed yesterday to stop igniting city buildings for training a practice rarely used in large Northeastern cities because it is widely considered unsafe until an investigation into the death of a cadet is complete. A Fire Department spokesman also said that other training practices will be re-examined to avoid further tragedies. The cadet, Racheal Wilson, 29, died Friday in a fire set by her instructors in a vacant rowhouse on South Calverton Road that was in a block slated for demolition.


Civilian employee dies in fall at Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg, NC - A civilian employee died Monday after being injured in a fall off a cherry picker at the Mini-Mall Furniture Store at Fort Bragg. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service warehouse employee fell while assisting a customer around noon at the store, which is in the mall on Reilly Street. “Paramedics arrived on the scene shortly after the accident and transported the employee to Womack Army Medical Center, where he subsequently died,” a Fort Bragg statement said. The name of the employee will be withheld until relatives are notified of the death. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service will investigate the accident.


Construction Worker Killed In Durham

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- A construction worker (Derrick Pilgrim, 35) has been killed in a work-site accident in downtown Durham. Police in Durham say the accident occurred around 11 a.m. inside a building at the Liggett and Myers construction project. An unidentified worker for Big Dog Construction Company was doing some demolition work inside a two-story building that used to house Liggett and Myers administrative offices when a wall collapsed on him. The historic tobacco warehouse complex is undergoing renovations as developers convert it into shops, offices and residential units. Durham police and state Department of Labor investigators are at the work site investigating the accident.


Two confirmed dead in helicopter wreck, victims identified

New Orleans, LA - Officials identified the bodies of two people killed in a Monday morning helicopter crash 65 miles south of Intracoastal City today. According to a news release, Era Aviation pilot John Lancaster, 46, of Denver, Colo., and his passenger, David Thibodeaux, 33, of Abbeville, were killed in the crash. The accident occurred at approximately 8:15 a.m. Monday as the Eurocopter EC120, owned by Era Aviation out of Lake Charles, attempted to land on an oil and gas platform in the gulf. Lancaster had been a pilot with Era since July 2006. Thibodeaux was employed as a production operator by Wood Group Production Services, Inc., in Houma. No other passengers were on board.


Bull Mauls, Kills Minnesota Farmer

JORDAN, Minn. — A man died after he was mauled by a bull on a farm northeast of Jordan on Monday, Scott County authorities said. Nobody witnessed the incident, but family members found the victim and called 911 just before 4 p.m., said Sgt. Phil Nawrocki, an investigator with the Scott County sheriff's office. "Apparently one of the bulls had pinned the individual in ... a fenced-in area, causing his death," Nawrocki said. The victim had been doing routine chores when it happened, he said. The responding deputies shot and killed the bull, Nawrocki said. The victim's name was not immediately released.


SCE&G Employee Killed by Falling Equipment

Columbia, SC - A South Carolina Electric and Gas Company employee has died after a piece of heavy equipment fell on him. 59-year-old Hebrew Muller died Tuesday afternoon in surgery at Palmetto Health Richland hospital. SCE&-G spokesman Eric Boomhower says Muller apparently got off a forklift he was operating at a company facility in Columbia to try to reposition the item he was moving. Boomhower says the item shifted and fell on Muller Muller had been with the utility for 36 years. The incident is under investigation.


Westchester public works employee has fatal heart attack at garage

HARRISON, NY - Sixty-one years old and with 43 years on the job, William White, a garage foreman for the Westchester County, could have retired to a comfortable living. But White kept working, his wife and his supervisor said today, because he loved the job and the people he worked with. Early this morning, a co-worker found White on the ground beside the backhoe he was using to load sand onto a spreader at a county garage on Lake Street. An ambulance took him to White Plains Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead at 7:15 a.m. The county medical examiner is performing an autopsy, but county police Lt. James Palanzo said investigators believe Johnson, who wore a pace maker and once had quadruple bypass surgery, died of a heart attack.


Tamarac man dies from falling car

Oakland Park, FL - A man died Tuesday night in Oakland Park after the car he was working on fell on top of him, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office. Jose Rodriguez, 28, of Tamarac, was an employee at The Horsepower Connection at 4019 NE Sixth Ave. BSO received a call for help shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday, said Keyla Concepción, a BSO spokeswoman. When deputies arrived at the repair shop, they found Rodriguez beneath the car. He was rushed to the hospital, where he later died. According to the shop's website, Rodriguez enjoyed racing his red 1996 Honda Civic Hatchback. Jose Rodriguez, 28 crushed/car/The Horsepower Connection


Driver killed in tanker accident

Leary, Ga. -- A driver for Hatcher Petroleum Transport of Albany apparently lost control of his tanker rig this morning about 1:30, near the intersection of Highway 55 and Bray Street. The tanker rolled over and caught fire, and the driver, whose name was not released, was killed. No other vehicles were involved. The HAZ-MAT team from Dothan, Alabama was called in to contain the gasoline leakage. The Georgia State Patrol is handling the accident, and we will more information later.


Farmer found dead in barn in Otter Tail County

ERHARD, Minn. - Authorities were investigating on Wednesday the death of a farmer near Erhard, in Otter Tail County. The body of the 51-year-old man was found in his dairy barn around 3 a.m. Wednesday. He apparently had been periodically checking on cows that were about to give birth. The man's wife couldn't find him when she came home. She called a neighbor, who found the husband in the barn. Authorities said the neighbor had to shoot a cow that became aggressive when he entered the barn. Foul play was not suspected in the farmer's death. Erhard is about 15 miles north of Fergus Falls.


Springdale Man Dies After 30-Foot Fall

SPRINGDALE, AR -- A 41-year-old construction worker died Sunday following a 30-foot fall at the construction site of the Springdale School District's new westside elementary school. Martin Hernandez of Springdale fell about 30-feet Jan. 7, from scaffolding onto a concrete floor, according to a fire report. He was in critical condition when firefighters/paramedics arrived about 8:38 a.m. Hernandez died from his injuries Sunday.


Paper mill worker crushed, dies in accident

ST. FRANCISVILLE, LA — A 32-year-old worker at the Tembec USA paper mill was crushed to death Wednesday in an industrial accident, West Feliciana Parish Sheriff J. Austin Daniel said. Daniel identified the victim as Maurice Douglas, 5576 Dutton St., Baton Rouge. Daniel said detectives determined Douglas was attempting to perform maintenance on a paper machine about 8 a.m. when it closed on him.


Naples airport employee killed

Naples, FL - Federal officials are investigating the accidental death of an employee (David Blitz, 44, of Naples) at Naples Municipal Airport. According to airport spokeswoman AnneElena Foster: The accident happened at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday when the aircraft line technician in training was driving a piece of equipment between two stationary planes. The man looked over his shoulder for a second and his body was pinned between the wing of one of the planes and the vehicle he was driving. The man was flown to Lee Memorial Hospital and suffered a heart attack en route. He died at the hospital a few hours later. He is believed to be the first employee ever killed in an accident at the airport. His name is being withheld until his relatives can be notified. National Transportation Safety Board officials are investigating the accident.


Popular crossing guard dies after collision

Milpitas, CA - Mabel Butler, a Milpitas crossing guard who was struck by a minivan two weeks ago while doing her job, died at Regional Medical Center in San Jose on Tuesday night. Butler, 71, was taken to the hospital Jan. 30 after being struck by a van driven by a 16-year-old Milpitas girl that afternoon, while on duty as a crossing guard on Arizona Avenue in Milpitas. She was thrown 14 feet, and suffered fractures to her left leg and back, and experienced other medical complications. Milpitas Police Chief Dennis Graham said Butler's cause of death cannot be released until an autopsy is performed. Butler is the first employee of the police department to die as a result of on-duty activities. The girl was cited at the time of the collision. It is unclear if charges will be filed.


Mill worker dies after falling into rice hopper

BEAUMONT, Texas - A rice mill worker fell about 23 feet to his death Friday, apparently from an overhead catwalk, officials said. Beaumont Rice Mills co-workers looking for Columbus Cotton at end of their shift at 3 a.m. found the man at the bottom of a rice hopper, Beaumont police said. The death appeared to be an accident, police said. Mill president Louis Broussard said Cotton was about 50 years old and had worked at the mill for six years. It was the first fatality in the plant's 115-year history, Broussard said.


Trench collapse kills man in Jackson, Mo.

JACKSON, Mo. -- A 29-year-old worker from southeastern Missouri is dead after the collapse of a trench where he was working. The victim -- Kevin Lemons of Advance -- was killed Thursday afternoon in Jackson. Lemons was employed by a construction company working on a sewer expansion project. He was in a 12-foot trench when it gave way. Authorities are unsure how it happened. At about the same time in St. Louis, another trench collapse trapped sewer line worker Asim Isa in the 3800 block of Germania Avenue. But after more than an hour of digging, rescue workers pulled out Isam, 22. They took him to a hospital, where was listed in stable condition.


Grinnell hospital fined after worker's fatal fall from helipad

DES MOINES, Iowa - A Grinnell hospital has been fined for a safety violation that contributed to the death of an employee who fell off a helicopter landing pad while clearing snow. Grinnell Regional Medical Center was cited for allowing Randy Criswell to operate a tractor January 15th near a dropoff. It was ordered to pay four thousand dollars by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The Grinnell man died when the tractor he was using to clear snow plunged 17 and a half feet. OSHA says the tractor rolled backward off the helipad and cleared a five-foot steel safety net before falling to the ground. OSHA, which issued its fine today, cited a warning in the tractor's owner's manual that prohibits operating the machine around dropoffs. Hospital officials say they have now prohibit ride-on motorized devices and require at least two workers at all times.


Worker Killed In Accident Is Identified

Davenport, TX - Deputies on Thursday identified 39-year-old Mario Ortega as the man who was killed in an industrial accident Wednesday, said the Polk County Sheriff's Office. Ortega, of Louisville, Texas, was doing sub-contracting work at 700 Ritchie Road for the Ritchie Bros. company in Davenport when he slipped about 5 p.m. while sandblasting a Caterpillar 621G motor and scraper, the Sheriff's Office said. Ortega was pronounced dead at the scene. He worked for sub-contractor McCandless Inc. of Texas and was temporarily living in Polk County while working at Ritchie Bros., the Sheriff's Office said.


Worker, 18, killed in construction accident

San Antonio, TX - An 18-year-old man was killed in a construction accident Thursday on the far West Side after he fell into a hole in which a large drill was operating. Christopher Doughty was using the drill on the 1100 block of Ellison Drive around noon, according to a police report. The drill was mounted on the back of a truck when the driver noted the power "take off" and saw the drill drop down. He yelled to Doughty, the report said, but no one answered. When he walked to the back of the truck he saw Doughty in the hole.


Erhard farmer found dead

Fergus Falls, MN - The death of a 51-year-old rural Erhard farmer found around 3 a.m. Wednesday in his dairy barn is being investigated by the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Department. The name is not being released pending notification of relatives. The man’s wife, the sheriff’s department said, came home and could not find him and called a relative to help look for him. The relative discovered him in the barn. The body was taken to the Otter Tail County coroner to determine cause of death.

Great Falls man dies in crash near Lincoln

Great Falls, MT - A United States Postal Service semi tractor-trailer veered off U.S. 200 and flipped on its side early Friday, killing the driver, the Montana Highway Patrol said. The victim was Steven L. Eller, 51, of Great Falls, Lewis and Clark County Coroner Mickey Nelson said. An investigation was under way, but Trooper Jeramy Rice said icy conditions may have been a factor. The incident happened at about 3 a.m. and was reported by a Montana Department of Transportation employee at 6:20 a.m., Rice said. Rice said no tracks were found indicating swerving or breaking, and it didn't appear that any other vehicles were involved. The truck landed on the driver's side in the 2-foot-deep Landers Fork River, Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Cheryl Liedle said. Eller was transporting mail from Seeley Lake to Great Falls when the wreck occurred.


Durham officer dies in wreck

Durham, NC - A Durham police officer was killed early today when his police cruiser lost control on a city street and wrecked. The police department says Officer C.J. Cellemyn was on his way about 3 a.m. to check on another officer who had stopped a few blocks away. The wreck occurred on Holloway Street near U.S. 70. Callemyn had been a member of the department since April 2005. The wreck is being investigated.


Oxford police officer hit by school bus, dies

Oxford, AL - An Oxford police officer died this afternoon after he was hit by a school bus while directing traffic near Oxford High School. Officer Dexter Holcomb was pronounced dead at UAB Hospital in Birmingham after being airlifted there from Oxford, said hospital spokesman Bob Shepard. Lt. Ben Stewart of Oxford Fire and Rescue said the incident occurred at 2:52 p.m. as school ended for the day. Holcomb was standing at the foot of a hill near the intersection of College Street and Snow Street when the bus driver apparently lost control of the bus.


Man killed in logging accident

MARSHALL, MY - A Madison County man died shortly after noon Sunday while removing logs at 2037 Green Vedder Road in the town of Marshall, Oneida County sheriff's deputies said.
Terrance N. Cook, 38, of Hubbardsville, an independent contractor who sold his lumber to Cold Brook-based P&W Forestry Products, was pinned between a logging skidder and a fallen tree while he and two others were removing logs from a wooded area, Sgt. James M. Paravati said.


Cab driver is shot on parking lot of Sauget strip club

SAUGET, MO — A routine cab run turned bloody when a driver was shot in the parking lot of a popular strip club early Thursday morning.

John Martin, 39, was picking up passengers for Heartland Cab at the Penthouse Club when he suffered a single gunshot wound to his left shoulder blade. Police said the bullet, traveling at a downward trajectory, pierced his liver and collapsed a lung.

After being shot, Martin walked into the front entrance of the club and told a bouncer to call police. He collapsed soon after and was unconscious when police arrived about 2:40 a.m.


Natchez man dies in oilfield accident

NATCHEZ Miss. -- A 56-year-old oilman was killed when a cap blew off a large pipe and hit him in the chest. Gene Radzewicz died Tuesday of blunt chest trauma, said Adams County Coroner James Lee. Lee said Radzewicz was pronounced dead at Natchez Regional Medical Center. An autopsy has been ordered.

Sheriff Ronny Brown said Radzewicz was working at an oil site near the former International Paper Mill when the accident happened. Brown said the pipe was under pressure when it burst and sent the cap flying.

"It was just a freak accident," Brown said.

Radzewicz was president of Radzewicz Exploration and Drilling Corp. of Natchez.


Elmore flight instructor and student killed in crash

MOUNT GILEAD, Ohio - A flight instructor from Elmore and a student pilot were killed yesterday when a small plane crashed in a wooded area near this central Ohio town, the Ohio Highway Patrol said. Walden Damschroder, 67, and Eric Balcom, 61, of Howard, died in the accident about 2:30 p.m., the patrol said. No one on the ground was hurt.

Although the patrol identified Mr. Damschroder as the instructor and Mr. Balcom as a student pilot, investigators had not determined who was at the controls when the plane crashed.


State trooper dies in crash: OFFICER WAS RESPONDING TO CALL IN PIKE COUNTY

Pikeville, KY -- A Kentucky State Police trooper was killed last night in a two-vehicle crash on U.S. 119in Pike County. Trooper Jonathan K. Leonard, 28, from Post 9 in Pikeville, was on duty and responding to a call, Lt. Phil Crumpton, commander of state police media relations branch, said yesterday.

Leonard was a three-year veteran of the department and had served that entire time in Pikeville. "The loss of Trooper Leonard is tremendous, and it permeates throughout the entire Kentucky State Police family," said KSP Commissioner Jack Adams. "We are all saddened beyond words." The crash happened at 6:20 p.m. near Sidney. Leonard was pronounced dead at the scene by Pike County Deputy Coroner Mike Hall.


Miami-Dade police are looking for man who killed security guard

MIAMI GARDENS, FL -- Miami-Dade police are looking for a man who killed a security guard at a restaurant in Miami Gardens late Saturday.

The security guard, who has not been identified by police, died during a shooting at Esther's restaurant, 777 NW 103 St. "We think they were going to rob the restaurant, and he defended it," said Fausto Martinez, an employee of the restaurant.


Dallas man held in random slaying of office worker

Dallas, TX -- A Dallas man is in custody facing a capital murder charge after the random slaying of a woman as she left her north Dallas office building. Police acting on a tip arrested Jose Castro, 24, at his northwest Dallas home late Tuesday. He was at the Lew Sterrett Justice Center early Wednesday.

Karen LaFon, 51, of Garland was shot repeatedly as she walked to her car after work around 5:20 p.m. Monday. "When officers arrived, they found a white female, 50 years old, that had been shot on the sidewalk," Dallas police Lt. Mike Scoggins told NBC 5.
"We're treating this as a stranger-on-stranger crime. There is no indication this suspect knew our victim."


Man arraigned in death of restaurant co-worker

Sacramento, CA -- Two Mexican citizens came to America for a better life. One ended up dead on a Sacramento street, and the other is in custody on a homicide charge. Francisco Javier Hernandez, 24, was arraigned Friday afternoon on a single count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of his restaurant co-worker, Geovani Montiel-Hernandez, 18.

The two, who are not related, got into a disagreement after work that escalated into a fistfight in a Howe Avenue parking lot about midnight Dec. 17. Montiel-Hernandez was pronounced dead at UC Davis Medical Center an hour later.


Truck kills guard at O'Hare

CHICAGO, IL -- A 51-year-old security guard died after a postal truck hit her near a loading dock at O'Hare International Airport, authorities said Friday. Erika Debeck, of Chicago, was pronounced dead Thursday night at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.


Tow truck driver killed near Burlington

Burlington, CO -- A tow truck driver walking along Interstate 70 about two miles east of Burlington was struck and killed by a car that went out of control Thursday at about 9:30 p.m., the State Patrol reported today.

State Patrol spokesman Gilbert Mares said a 2004 Ford Taurus driven by Bennie L. Hoskins Jr., 28, of Denver, was traveling westbound on the highway when he lost control and hit Joe C. Tatenhorst, 60, of Burlington. Hoskins then crashed into the 1991 International tow truck that was parked alongside the highway.


Delivery robbery suspects got $37

Hamilton, OH -- A Hamilton pizza deliveryman was killed while two men stole "37 dollars and some change" from him, a detective testified Thursday.

Ken Hardin, a Butler County sheriff's detective, said Jeremy Harris made that disclosure during an interview shortly after Donatos Pizza delivery driver Jeff Wilson, 47, of Hamilton, died. Harris and co-defendant Chance Tabor have given different accounts, blaming each other for the fatal Dec. 19 assault on Wilson.

Police say the suspects lured Wilson to an ambush by placing a bogus pizza order from a pay phone. When Wilson showed up to deliver the pizza, the suspects robbed and beat Wilson, Hardin said, leaving him to die in the middle of a street in Butler's St. Clair Township.


Worker is electrocuted

Gladstone, KS -- A Gladstone man died of electrocution Thursday in Liberty at a construction site where private contractors were working on new city water wells.
The victim was Kenneth McDaniel, 52, according to the Jackson County medical examiner's office. An autopsy is scheduled for today.

McDaniel was in a bucket lift and working on equipment about 8:30 a.m. when he apparently touched or came too close to some high- voltage electrical lines, said Liberty Fire Chief Gary Birch. The lines carried more than 12,000 volts, Birch said. Medical crews took McDaniel to North Kansas City Hospital, Birch said, but he appeared to have died at the scene.


BR store clerk found shot dead behind counter

Baton Rouge, LA -- A 60-year-old store clerk was found shot to death Wednesday evening behind the counter of a Wooddale Boulevard convenience store. Baton Rouge Police responded about 6:30 p.m. to a call of shots fired at John's Food Mart at 191 Wooddale near Florida Boulevard, police spokesman Sgt. Don Kelly said.

Investigators suspect the killing may have occurred during an armed robbery, Kelly said. It was not immediately clear whether any money or merchandise was taken by the gunman, who fled after the shooting, Kelly said.


Truck driver killed in crash near Alice

Alice, TX -- A San Antonio man was killed Tuesday evening after he lost control of his 18-wheeler about two miles south of Alice, authorities said.

Gary Wayne Pilot, 45, was driving a 2003 Freightliner south on U.S. 281 about 6:48 p.m. when he tried to avoid an accident with two other vehicles and overcorrected, causing the 18-wheeler to roll over and ignite, DPS officials said. Pilot was pronounced dead at the scene.


Bar owner slain in Point Breeze

Philadelphia, PA -- Reginald Branham became a computer whiz while at Overbrook High School in the 1980s, earning a four-year scholarship to Drexel University and becoming a computer executive.

In recent years, however, he had turned his attention to fixing up bars. On Christmas night, Branham, 37, was shot dead at his latest bar, Cognac Corner in the 1400 block of South 21st Street in Point Breeze, making him the city's 402d homicide victim of the year.



Small plane headed to N.J. crashes on Pa. runway; 2 dead

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) _ A small plane traveling to New Jersey crashed on an airport runway and exploded in flames Tuesday, killing the pilot and a passenger, authorities said.

The twin engine, propeller-driven Cessna 414 crashed at John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport at about 3:55 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said. Cambria County Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski said the victims were both women, but was not immediately releasing their names until relatives were notified.

The plane, registered to Wharf Place LLC, in Morgantown, W.V., was en route from Morgantown to Teterboro, N.J. Kwiatkowski said the plane was a medical flight going to New Jersey to pick up a patient, though it wasn't clear what the plane's final destination was. The passenger on the plane was a nurse.


Drugs blamed for deaths of 2 truckers

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- Two of the four people found dead inside their rigs at two San Antonio truck stops last month died from using methamphetamine, authorities said.
The bodies of Harry Ackroyd, 35, and Michelle Ackroyd, 32, were found inside a rig at the Petro Stopping Center on Nov. 1.

The Bexar County medical examiner's office said both died of methamphetamine intoxication, San Antonio television station KENS 5 reported on its Web site Tuesday.
Police have said the Ackroyds were a common-law couple and that Harry Ackroyd was a trucker.



Driver in officer's death had warrants FW

Fort Worth, TX -- The man involved in Sunday's collision that killed a Fort Worth police officer had been arrested a month earlier on nine outstanding traffic warrants, according to Denton County records.

Early Sunday morning, Mr. Hilburn rear-ended his Lexus into Fort Worth police Officer Dwayne Freeto's parked cruiser along the shoulder of Interstate 35W. Officer Freeto had stopped to help a woman with a flat tire. Police said Mr. Hilburn had a blood alcohol content of 0.2 percent, which is 2 1/2 times Texas' legal limit of 0.08 percent, and had been driving at least 84 mph when his car struck the police cruiser.


2nd teen arrested in killing of Oceanside police officer

OCEANSIDE Calif. -- A second teenager has been arrested and booked for investigation of murder in the fatal shooting of a police officer during a traffic stop, authorities said Friday. The 16-year-old boy from Oceanside was booked into Juvenile Hall late Thursday after being questioned by detectives investigating the death of Officer Dan Bessant, Sgt. Leonard Mata said.

Bessant, 25, was killed late Wednesday after arriving to help another officer who pulled over a car filled with six people. A bullet fired from a nearby home pierced his armpit under his protective vest.


Autopsy completed in trucker’s death

PAINTED POST, N.Y. -- Milton Reedy, 62, the man driving a tractor trailer Sunday afternoon that crashed off an overpass, landing on a minivan traveling on westbound Interstate 86, died from multiple blunt force injuries, according to state police in Painted Post.

An autopsy on Reedy was completed Tuesday, according to Investigator Chris Wilkinson. Wilkinson said Reedy had several internal injuries, causing his death.

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Chad Brunson shot on New Year’s Eve

Kenton Neuhouser says, "Brutal killing reminds all of us about risks employees shoulder...I can’t get Chad Brunson out of my head."

"I think about him every day. Chad was shot in the head on New Year’s Eve. He wasn’t at a party like most 23-year-olds, but at work in a pizza store where two robbers who were out to steal a few bucks from the register also murdered Brunson. He was a dedicated, longtime employee who, according to his father, loved his job. I’m sure he also loved his life outside of work and had a lot of dreams well beyond his years. I mourn for Brunson and his family. I am chilled by the senselessness of the killing and the heartlessness and evil that obviously lurks inside his killers."


Kenton Neuhouser owns Neuhouser Nursery & Landscaping and Neuhouser Gardens & Gifts in Fort Wayne,IN. If you have ever had or been involved in a family business you know for the most part they are ran like family and many of the small businesses stick together as the farmers once did.

Family business are out to make a dollar also but work more closely with their employees and tend to have concerns other than just the bottom line. I know having had a small business that we were picky as to whom we worked for, what was done, when our next birthday or carry in was, and who was getting married and having babies. We were down to earth and had relationships with our employees. So I really can relate with Mr. Neuhouser and his concerns.

"Since Brunson’s shooting – in January alone – we’ve heard about crimes locally including these:

♦A store clerk was terrorized by a knife-wielding thief.

♦A bank was held up by a robber using a semi-automatic gun.

♦A tanning salon and a Subway restaurant both were robbed at gunpoint.

In the recent past, local employees have been forced at gunpoint to lie on the floor or were locked in freezers, and a female gas-station attendant was seriously beaten after being robbed. I can only imagine that all these terrifying incidents are life-changing."



Mr. Neuhouser goes on to talk about the fear these violent acts inflict, criminals, small business difficulty, the importance of his employees, and how the ones dealing with the violence were just trying to make a living. Read the full article

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Workers' Memorial Scholarship deadline is March 1

We have a page of WM scholarships located at USMWF. Kevin Weeks the Public Information Officer Oregon OSHA was kind enough to send this years updated info.

Oregon Occupational Safety and Health

The Department of Consumer and Business Services, Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) is offering assistance to Oregon students through the Workers' Memorial Scholarship for the 2007-2008 academic year.

Four students received Workers Memorial Scholarship awards in 2006 - Jillian Becker of Molalla, Molly Foster of Portland, Annette Smith of Eugene and Caroline Suiter of Eugene.


The scholarship awards are provided by a Department of Consumer and Business Services fund that uses interest earned from Oregon OSHA civil penalties. The 1991 Legislature established the Workers' Memorial Scholarship at the request of the Oregon AFL-CIO, with support from Associated Oregon Industries.

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What Happens When Workers Die

Different things. Sometimes they're honored as an example of heroism:

Asbestos Victim to Be Posthumously Recognized at Third Annual Asbestos Awareness Day Conference

REDONDO BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), an organization dedicated to serving as the voice of asbestos victims, today announced that asbestos victim Les Skramstad will be posthumously honored with the Alan Reinstein Memorial Award. Les was a Montana miner who lost his eleven year battle to diseases caused by asbestos on January 27, 2007 at age 70.

On March 31st, Les will be honored for his unwavering commitment to justice and asbestos disease awareness at the 3rd Annual Asbestos Awareness Day Conference in Philadelphia. He remained a beacon of hope and truth for nearly fifty years, even during his battle with asbestosis and mesothelioma. Les worked as a sweeper at Zonolite, a vermiculite mine in Libby, Montana for three years.

“We are pleased to honor Les Skramstad with the Alan Reinstein Memorial Award,” said Linda Reinstein, Executive Director and Cofounder of Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO). “Les not only fought a deadly asbestos disease, but also worked for decades to raise awareness about its dangers. We will always remember him as we continue our fight to prevent diseases caused by deadly asbestos fibers.”

The Alan Reinstein Memorial Award was created in honor of Alan Reinstein who served as the former President of ADAO and activist before his death in early 2006 of mesothelioma, an asbestos-related disease.
Sometimes, their deaths result in improvements.

Kentucky Governor Proposes Social Worker Safety Bill
By Katherine Torres

In response to the murder of a child welfare worker last October, Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher is supporting legislation that would enhance the safety for state human services workers and add more than 300 social workers to the frontline.

The measure, called the "Boni Frederick Memorial Bill," was named after 67-year-old social worker Boni Frederick, who was stabbed and beaten when she took a 10-month boy for a visit to his mother's house.

"Our human services workers face dangerous situations each and every day," said Gov. Fletcher. "I committed to Boni Frederick's co-workers that we would take steps to provide the protection and tools workers need to keep them safe, and this legislation is a critical part of fulfilling that commitment."
'Panic Buttons' and Supervised Visits

The legislation calls for about $21 million over the next 16 months to equip Kentucky social workers with devices fitted with "panic buttons" and global positioning systems. It also calls for hiring additional front-line staff in the Department for Community-Based Services (DCBS) offices across the state.

The legislation also authorizes neutral, supervised visits between birth parents and children in out-of-home care. The legislation allows the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) - where Frederick worked - to contract with local agencies to provide visitation sites and services.
(Jordan Barab wrote more about Boni Frederick's death in Confined Space)

And occasionally, justice is served:
Contractor admits role in death of a worker
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
By FRANK DONNELLY
STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- In an apparent precedent on Staten Island, a well-regarded North Shore builder pleaded guilty yesterday to criminally negligent homicide stemming from the death of one of his workers, buried three years ago in a trench collapse at a West Brighton job site.

Kenneth Formica's felony plea in state Supreme Court, St. George, in connection with the death of Lorenzo Pavia, 39, on Dec. 15, 2003, marks the first time in recent history that a Staten Island contractor was found criminally liable for the death of a worker, sources said.
(Confined Space also has posts about the death of Lorenzo Pavia here and here.)

But, in case you're getting too hopeful, this is more the rule:
Son who ran over father fired
BY DANIEL MASSEY
Special to Newsday

February 8, 2007, 9:40 PM EST

A Brooklyn man who accidentally crushed his father to death with a giant Payloader at a West Babylon recycling plant has been fired from his job.

Luis Marquez, 25, was fired Feb. 2 by an Omni Recycling supervisor who cited surveillance videotape that the company deemed shows a delayed reaction by Marquez to the Jan. 26 accident, union officials said.

The union contends the videotape demonstrates that Marquez was in a state of shock after riding over his father's torso and abdomen, and that the company, in the face of an investigation by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is trying to shift the blame to Marquez.

"It's a slap in the face after a tragic accident," said Wayne Richardson, a business agent for Laborers' International Union Local 108, who is assigned to the Omni plant. "For you to terminate the man is really incredible."

Richardson said the union plans to meet with Omni management to press for Marquez's reinstatement.

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