Monday, August 11, 2008

Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace, July 28- August 11, 2008

UPDATED: 18 AUG 2008, 11:15 AM EDT

Sonic employee found dead
AUG 11, ALBUQUERQUE, NM -- Workers at a Sonic drive-in restaurant in Albuquerque became suspicious when an employee went to take out the trash and didn't return. A coworker who went to check on him found his body next to a Dumpster. While police have not revealed the cause of death, they have turned the case over to the homicide department. An investigation is ongoing.

Water tower painter falls
AUG 11, NORTH LIMA, OH -- Richard Martin, 43, of River Rouge, MI, was working on a water tower owned by Aqua Ohio Monday afternoon when he fell about 83 feet to his death. Martin, who worked for a company contracted to paint the tower, was reportedly wearing all required safety gear-- helmet, harness, and breathing apparatus-- when the accident occurred.

Taxi driver dies after accident
AUG 11, CHICAGO, IL -- A taxi cab driver lost control of her van on a ramp for westbound I-90 on Monday, and it crashed into a utility pole. Young Ji, 51, of Itasca, survived the crash, got out of her vehicle, and was clutching her chest. She later died at a hospital, leading police to believe she may have had a heart attack.

Baltimore police officer dies
AUG 11, BALTIMORE, MD -- Michael Howe, 55, a 30 year veteran of the Baltimore County police deparment, died Monday afternoon from a massive stroke. The day before, he spent the morning at the Randallstown home of a man who had killed his wife and called the police to say he was going to kill himself. Upon entry, his officers found two bodies in the basement. Hours later, Lt. Howe collapsed in his home. Because his death was so soon after his high-pressure work on the case, his death is considered in the line of duty. "He was a shining example of the best in American policing," said Baltimore County Police Chief James W. Johnson. "It is a significant loss for this agency."

Houston's first female police officer killed
AUG 11, HOUSTON, TX -- Velia "Belle" Ortega, a retired police officer who was the first Hispanic female police officer in Houston, died Monday of injuries sustained in a drive-by shooting on July 21. On that day, Ms. Ortega was visiting family members when she was shot by two men who had a dispute about a car with her family.

Worker falls from oil derrick
AUG 11, PRUE, OK -- A man working an oil derrick slipped and fell between 30 and 50 feet the ground on Monday. Phillip Morrison, 26, of Hominy, was taken to a hospital in Cleveland, OK before being transferred in critical condition to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa. He died that evening.

Man killed in tractor rollover
AUG 11, CHILLICOTHE, OH -- The body of Vernon "Buck" Kern, 71, was discovered by his grandson on Tuesday morning. Mr. Kern, a farmer who lived alone, was mowing a grassy embankment on his property Monday evening when his tractor overturned, crushing him.

Worker killed at construction site
AUG 11, PITTSBURGH, PA -- A construction worker died Monday morning at a Pittsburgh construction site. Mark Bellisario, 26, of Baldwin Borough, was operating a winch on top of a building when his clothes became entangled in the machinery, and he became unable to breathe. Coworkers performed CPR, but he was pronounced dead at UPMC Mercy Hospital. Bellisario was married this past May.

Home remodelers killed in explosion
AUG 11, ADAMS COUNTY, CO -- Two home remodelers were killed Monday morning in an explosion. Justin Turner, 29, and Jose Gallegos, 23, both of Denver, were killed when a solvent for removing adhesive on linoleum and tiling came in contact with a heat source, generating an explosion and fire. Both were employees of Rust-Oleum Services of Sheridan, and were hired as contractors for Home Depot.

Shipworker dies
AUG 11, TEXAS CITY, TX -- A young shipworker, 21, died Monday morning after he reportedly had a seizure and fell into the into the water in the Bollinger Shipyard in Texas City. A coworker tried to jump in and save him, but was unfortunately not successful. Diving teams later recovered his body.

Walmart employee shot in parking lot
AUG 11, PARIS, AS -- A Wal-Mart employee was shot Monday evening when Robert Lee James saw him in the parking lot with James's estranged wife, also a Wal-Mart employee. Tony Rice, 40, was in the Walmart parking lot talking to Heather James when Mr. James fired a handgun. Mr. Rice was shot three times in the head.

Police officer killed in motorcycle crash
AUG 11, CONROE, TX -- Sgt. Gary Daniel Hardage, 40, was killed early Monday morning when his motorcycle collided with a Jeep. Hardage, who had been a police officer for 15 years and who was wearing a helmet at the time, was pronounced dead at the scene. He is survived by his wife, also a Conroe police officer.

Truck driver killed

AUG 10, ANNAPOLIS, MD -- John Robert Short, a 57 year-old truck driver from Willards, was killed early Sunday morning following a three vehicle crash. About a quarter mile from the Kent Island side of the Bay Bridge, Mr. Short's tractor trailer crashed into the jersey wall, taking out a 10-15 foot section of the bridge before plummeting 30-40 feet into the Chesapeake Bay. This is the first time in the 56-year history of the bridge that a vehicle has fallen from it.

Employee killed near Dunkin Donuts
AUG 9, NEWARK, DE -- The body of Kanubhai Patel, 46, was found not far from the Dunkin Donuts where he worked. Patel's wife and another coworker went to look for him when he was not inside the Dunkin Donuts at 5 am. They retraced his normal route to work and soon encountered his body. He had been shot once and had money removed from his body.

Officer dies
AUG 9, SOUTHAMPTON, NY -- Andrew Reister, 40, an off-duty corrections officer for Suffolk County, was at his second job as a bouncer at Southhampton Publick House early Thursday morning when he was attacked by an intoxicated patron he had ordered to leave. After being "nearly stranged", Resister was left in a coma. He died this morning. Reister, who lived in Hampton Bays, is survived by his wife and two children, ages 4 and 8.

Construction accident claims one
AUG 8, OLATHE, KS-- John E. Crowley, 33, of Kansas City, MO, was killed early this morning at a construction site near 14700 St. Andrews. Police say he died after being pinned between two forklifts.

Taxi driver shot
AUG 8, HOLLYWOOD, FL -- A Friendly Checker taxi driver was found sprawled on the sidewalk outside of his cab early Friday morning. People nearby reported having heard gunshots and seeing two men in dark clothing running from the scene. Rosario Esposito, 62, of Hallandale, was a native of Italy, and he had planned to visit there next month to see his family. Mr. Esposito, who had worked for Friendly Checker for about 3 years, was the 4th taxi driver to be killed in South Florida over the last six months.

Police officer killed in friendly fire
AUG 8, SAN JUAN, PR -- Orlando Gonzales-Ortiz, 32, a former resident of Lorain, OH and 12-year veteran of the Puerto Rico Police Department, was killed in what is believed to have been a "friendly fire" accident during an FBI raid. Mr. Gonzales-Ortiz, who was part of an operation to save a kidnapped man, was approaching the crime scene in civilian clothes when he was shot by an FBI agent who was in pursuit of five suspects. A fellow police agent said it appeared that a stray bullet penetrated Mr. Gonzales-Ortiz's bullet-proof vest.

Employee killed in fertilizer bin
AUG 7, LAKE CITY, FL -- a 56-year old employee of the Mayo Fertilizer Company was killed Thursday morning. He was working in a bin at the facility when three industrial-sized bags of fertilizers fell over and broke open, trapping him under 2,000 pounds of fertilizer. Co-workers found him but were unable to revive him. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Bank employee killed in robbery attempt
AUG 7, HUNTSVILLE, AL -- Regions Bank night crew chief Jerry Richard was killed in an apparent robbery Thursday night as he and two other men were working in the back parking lot. When Richard had no money to give the gunman, he was shot in the chest. He was pronounced dead at Huntsville Hospital.

Worker electrocuted working on electric sign
AUG 7, DALLAS, TX -- Police were unable to revive a worker who was electrocuted Thursday afternoon. The worker was working on a Burger King sign from a bucket truck when the bucket and/or its ladder came in contact with a live power line.

Undercover police officer shot
AUG 7, VIRGINIA BEACH, VA --Detective Michael Smith Phillips, 37, was working undercover Thursday when he was shot around 11:15 pm in the parking lot of Green Run Shopping Center. 2 men face first-degree murder charges. He was the first undercover narcotics detective to be killed this year in the United States.

Electrical contractor killed
AUG 6, COLBY, KS -- An electrical contractor from Council Grove, KS, was electrocuted Wednesday during a routine pole replacement. Two other workers were hurt, but did not sustain life-threatening injuries.

Worker killed in warehouse fall
AUG 6, SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ -- Carlos Gamboa, 43, of New Brunswick, was attempting to dismantle a storage rack 25 feet above the warehouse floor when he slipped and fell. Police responded to the scene Wednesday morning, but were unable to revive him. Mr. Gamboa, who was an employee of International Product Solutions, leaves behind a wife and three children.

Sheriff's deputy shot
AUG 6, SMOAKS, SC -- Dennis Compton, 39, responded to a home alarm which went off early Wednesday morning. Not long after, the son of the homeowner, called to the home by the alarm company, foound the body of the deputy, who had been shot. Police are searching for the shooter. Said Colleton County Sheriff George Malone: "Deputy Compton was an honorable man, he was a family man." Compton was, he said "one of the best officers I had."

Detention officer killed in drive-by shooting
AUG 6, WILMINGTON, NC -- Tarica Pulliam, 27, a detention officer with the New Hanover County sheriff's office, was shot multiple times as she was leaving for work on Wednesday morning. Police say she was killed by her ex-boyfriend, against whom she had a protective order. Friends say Ms. Pulliam was a determined, young, single mother with a "lion's heart." She had worked as a detention officer for two years, and was planning to become a deputy.

Restaurant supervisor slain
AUG 6, NASHVILLE, TN -- An O'Charley's Kitchen supervisor, Eric Bruno, 39, died from stab wounds Wednesday evening when he tried to intervene in a dispute between a drug dealer and a waiter. Bruno is described as a well-liked person. He was off-duty at the time of the attack; he was in the restaurant to see friends when his killer arrived to confront one of the waiters about a drug debt. David Kimball, IV, was charged with criminal homicide.

Security officer killed
AUG 6, SPRINGFIELD, MO -- A Cox North Hospital security officer died Wednesday, four days after he was attacked by an irate patient. Monte Ruby, 62, collapsed Saturday following a kick to his head and neck that caused brain and spine injuries. His accused attacker has racked up six additional, unrelated assault charges since killing Ruby. Ruby's family described him as a practical joker who worked hard and loved helping others. Said his 14 year-old son, "That was his main thing: taking care of others, a sense of caring about his community, making sure people were safe...He raised the bar very, very high for myself." Still struggling with the needlessness of his father's dead, he commented, "My dad was in the way of something that was way bigger than him. He just got caught up in the middle of it. Now he can't come home anymore."

Truck driver killed in fire
AUG 6, LINCOLN COUNTY, MS -- Authorities are still working to identify the body of a truck driver who died in a fire following a crash involving three 18-wheelers. At 3:17 am, a mail truck sideswiped a log truck parked on the side of Interstate 55 north. A third tractor trailer, carrying drums of oil, swerved to avoid road debris, and struck the mail truck. Those two trucks burst into flames. The mail truck driver was not in his truck when it caught fire; however, the driver of the truck containing the oil drums was burned to death. Lincoln County Civil Defense Director Clifford Galey said it was one of the worst vehicle fires he'd ever seen. "We had a truck carrying containers of oil in the incident. That was bad enough, but it was worse because there was so much paper in the mail truck," he said.

Nine killed in helicopter crash
AUG 5, JUNCTION CITY, CA -- A helicopter carrying a group of firefighters crashed into Shasta-Trinity National Forest on Tuesday evening, before catching fire. Nine were killed-- seven firefighters, a pilot, and a National Park Service Employee; four survivors suffered severe burns. The cause of the crash is unknown. Firefighters killed include: Shawn Blazer, 30, and Bryan Rich, 29, both of Medford, OR; Scott Charleson, 25, of Phoenix, OR; Matthew Hammer, 23, of Grants Pass, OR; Edrik Gomez, 19 and David Steele, 19, of Ashland, OR; and Steven Renno, 21, of Cave Junction. Carson Helicopters, Inc., confirmed that the pilot was Roark Schwanenberg, 54, of Lostine, OR. Said one of the survivors, “I was totally shocked. I lost all my friends.”

Worker electrocuted at Chesapeake College
AUG 5, WYE MILLS, MD -- EMS personnel were unable to revive Troy Steven Smith, 33, of Federalsburg after he was electrocuted Tuesday. Mr. Smith was repairing overlights lights inside of a building at Chesapeake College. The incident is being investigated.

Federal agent shot near post office
AUG 5, PEMBROKE PINES, FL -- Donald Pettit, 52, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent with a "distinguished military career" was fatally shot outside a busy post office Tuesday morning when a road rage battle turned deadly. Pettit was on duty at the time but had his 12 year-old daughter with him.

US Airways employee dies in Phila. airport accident
AUG 5, PHILADELPHIA, PA -- A US Airways employee was killed Tuesday afternoon at Philadelphia International Airport when a ground service equipment vehicle overturned. The victim was treated at the scene and later died in the hospital. "This is a really sad day for our company," said James T. Olsen, vice-president of corporate communications for US Airways.

Worker killed in excavation accident
AUG 5, WAVERLY, IA -- Aaron Meyerhoff, 35, of Dunkerton, was killed Tuesday afternoon after he was buried during an excavating accident which occurred at around 3 pm. Fire crews and police worked to free him, but were unable to recover his body until about 6 pm.

Two window washers killed in accident
AUG 5, NEW WORK, NY -- Two window washers were killed near a Manhattan skyscraper early Tuesday when the cherry picker they were working in tipped over, catapaulting them into the air, and causing them to fall more than 40 feet to their deaths. The two men, Garin Fabrizio, 37, of Milford, PA and Robert Fabrizio, 35, of Las Vegas, were cousins. Neither OSHA, nor the NY Department of Labor can yet explain the accident. Last week, a fellow worker said the cherry picker was leaking, but it was later fixed. An investigation is ongoing. (An Associated Press article has more on the hazards of window-washing.)

Police officer killed in crash
AUG 5, BUSHNELL, FL -- A police officer was killed in a head-on collision on Tuesday evening. Detective Sandra Joyce Bullock, 59, was killed when a vehicle heading in the opposite direction tried to pass a vehicle and struck the detective's car. Her vehicle went spinning and overturned. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Driver's ed instructor killed
AUG 5, CHISAGO CITY, ND -- A driver's ed. instruction was killed Tuesday when riding with a 15-year old student. The student had a green light and had pulled into the intersection when the passenger side was rammed by an SUV. Neil Stoeckel, 58, died of internal injuries three hours later. Mr. Stoeckel was a driver's ed. instructor at Chisago Lakes High School District's Community Education Department, and had taught industrial arts for 33 years at St. Francis Middle School.

Electrician electrocuted while working
AUG 4, VALDOSTA, GA -- A senior-level electrician was electrocuted Monday. Carlton Jones, 50, of Hahira, was working on some wires at Martin's Pastry when a breaker was accidentally switched, electrocuting him. Mr. Jones had been an employee of Valdosta Electric for 26 years.

Worker crushed by tractor
AUG 4, HENRY COUNTY, GA -- A worker was killed in accident at LaFarge Building Materials on Monday. The worker, whose identity has not yet been released, was performing maintenance on a tracter when he got trapped between the machinery and the bucket.

Worker dies in golf cart accident
AUG 4, TOMS RIVER, NJ -- A Toms River Municipal Utilities Authority employee was killed when the golf cart she was riding in overturned during a turn. Linda Clegg, 53, of Tom's River sustained a head wound and was taken to the trauma center at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. She was pronounced dead Tuesday evening.

Truck driver killed in rollover
AUG 4, CLOVIS, TX -- An employee driving a 2005 GMC Panhandle Fire Protection pickup truck died after a three-car crash on Monday morning. Donnie Burris, 26, of Amarillo, TX, was killed when the truck he was driving struck two vehicles and rolled over onto its side. Burris had to be extricated from the vehicle.

Water worker dies underground
AUG 4, ALTON, IL -- The Madison County coroner is still investigating the death of Jerry Estes, 72, of Roxana. Mr. Estes was working with the Forest Homes-Maple Park Public Water district when he went to turn off a valve in an an underground water-control area. When is co-workers were unable to contact him, they found his body. While the cause of yet has yet to be determined, rescuers think it may be heat-related. Said a coworker: "He was a wonderful man. He worked with the water district for a number of years - more than 20 years...You couldn't ask for a better employee. We are going to miss him."

Elevator mechanic dies at University of Michigan
AUG 4, ANN ARBOR, MI -- An employee of the Schindler Elevator Corporation, David J. Smith, 31, of Jackson, MI, fell from the fifth floor to the basement in an elevator shaft inside a new building at the University's Stephen M. Ross School of Business. He is the second construction worker to die at the U of M campus this year.

Farmer killed by hay accumulator
AUG 3, HAMILTON COUNTY, IL -- William E. Darnell, 67, died Sunday in a tragic farm accident. He sustained multiple internal injuries while trying to dislodge a stuck hay bale from a hay accumulator.

Firefighter dies trying to rescue man
AUG 3, TIVERTON, RI -- When a fisherman went missing in Stafford Pond on Sunday, off-duty firefighter Gerald Leduc, 53, drove his jet ski to the pond and was seen entering with his diving gear. He was later found floating motionless in the water. The cause of death has not yet been determined. Mr. Leduc had been a firefighter for 25 years.

Farmworker's death may have been heat-related

AUG 3 RIVERSIDE, CA -- Maris de Jesus Alvarez, 63, of Mecca, died Sunday, from what the United Farm Workers of American union says was heat-related illness. Her death was 2 1/2 weeks after she complained of excessive sweating and severe headaches while working in a vineyard owned by Anthony Vineyards. A July 29 letter from Hospital de las Californias in Mexicali noted that Alvarez was suffering from severe dehydration and heat stroke. The temperature that day reached 103 degrees. When a Press Enterprise reporter asked the labor contractor who employed her if Ms. de Jesus Alvarez had received heat illness training, he hung up. The state still investigating.

Sheriff's deputy gunned down
AUG 2, CYPRESS PARK, CA-- Deputy Juan Abel Escalante, 27, was shot and killed on Saturday outside his parents' home as he was leaving for work at the downtown Men's Central Jail. Police think the drive-by shooting may have been prompted by Escalante's job guarding dangerous inmates-- many of them gang members. They are also considering whether neighborhood gang violence or a personal grudge may have prompted the murder. Mr. Escalante, his wife, and their three children had been living with his parents in Cypress Park while preparing to purchase a home in Pomona.

Social worker murdered
AUG 1, CABELL COUNTY, WV -- Social workers in rural West Virginia are rattled after police found the burned body of Brenda Yeager, 51, of Hamlin, WV, not far from the home of a family she had just visited. Steven Foster, Jr., and Rosemary Forney are accused of sexually assaulting and murdering Ms. Yeager; Foster's father has been charged with third-degree arson, conspiracy and disposal of a body. Ms. Yeager worked for First Care Services, an agency that helps high-risk parents and infants through the state-sponsored “Right From the Start” program.

Workplace shooting claims two
AUG 1, BRISTOL, PA -- Police arrived at a Bucks County business on Friday afternoon after reports of gunshots. A disgruntled former employee, Robert Diamond, 32, opened fire on workers during a shift change at Simon & Schuster. Angel Guadalupe, 46, of Levittown, and Reginald Woodson, 52, of Willingboro, were both killed in the attack. Diamond faces two counts of first-degree murder.

Construction worker falls from Coca Cola distribution center
AUG 1, WACO, TX -- Gregorio Gutierrez, 51, of Dallas, was working on the roof of a new Coca Cola distribution center when a gust of wind blew him off the roof and he fell 30 to 35 feet to his death. Mr. Gutierrez was wearing a safety harness, but the harness had not been hooked to the safety rigging.

Former prison employee dies
AUG 1, COTTONDALE, FL -- Tanya Smith, a former Florida correctional offer died last week in her home. She was 36. Four months earlier, Ms. Smith joined 25 other prison employees, inmates, and visitors in a reckless endangerment claim against Federal Prison Industries (or Unicor), which she says did provide adequate protection against toxic exposures resulting from the company's electronics recycling program. Ms. Smith, who began work at the prison in 1999, swept the area where prisoners dismantled computers for recycling purposes. As dust from electronics can contain dangerous elements like lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic, workers need to have respiratory protection and other safeguards. Smith, who collapsed at work in 2004, went into a coma, and was later diagnosed with lupus, kidney disease, blood clots, and heart and respiratory disease, said prison officials never informed her of safety hazards or gave her protective gear.

Tow truck driver hit while working

Aug. 1, COLUMBUS, OH -- A tow truck operator was attaching a pickup to the flatbed of his tow truck when he was hit by an American Electric Power (AEP) vehicle. Seth Hicks, 27, died at the scene. Said his emplopyer: "The time he's been here, he's been a wonderful person to work with...he's a happy-go-lucky person and a very hard worker. Everybody liked him. It's going to be a very very big loss here at the company."

Farmer killed in tractor accident
JULY 31, ELWOOD, IN -- Melvin L. Matchett, 55, was helping his father put siding on the barn at their family farm when a deadly accident occured. Matchett was standing on top of a wooden platform on a tractor when he became pinned between the tractor and the barn. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Matchett's cousin said that Melvin had grown accustomed to help out at the family farm. "“He was learning the ins and outs of farming, and trying to learn as much as he could while his father still had the health to teach him.”

Worker killed in trench collapse
JULY 31, NEW IBERIA, LA -- Jamie Dean Wright, 45, a fuel tank installation employee from Lake Charles, was working in a pit at the construction site of a new Exxon station when its walls collapsed on him. His body was recovered less than an hour later by rescue workers. An autopsy has been ordered as it is unclear at this time whether Mr. Wright died from asphixiation or other body trauma, said the Parish coroner.

Hospitalized California farm worker dies from heat stress
JULY 31, BAKERSFIELD, CA -- A farm worker hospitalized July 9 after collapsing due to heat stroke died Thursday afternoon at San Joaquin Community Hospital. Jorge Herrera, 37, of Delano, CA, was loading grapes when he became ill. When he arrived at the hospital, his core body temperature was 108 degrees. Mr. Herrera was the fifth California farm worker to die in what the United Farm Workers are calling "the black summer for farm workers." He is survived by his wife and two young children.

Construction Worker falls down elevator shaft to death
JULY 31, ENFIELD, CT -- Brian Millett, 54, of Killingly, CT, was working between the fourth and fifth floors of a new Hampton Inn when he fell down the elevator shaft. He was flown by helicopter to Baystate Medical Center, but pronounced dead not long after. There were no witnesses to the fall. OSHA is investigating the incident.

Maintenance worker falls from roof
JULY 31, NEW YORK, NY -- A maintenance worker fell from the roof of a five-story building on a busy street in Greenwich Village. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said that it was unclear what the worker was doing at the time; though the building is under construction, a spokesperson for the Department of Buildings said there was no construction being done at the time of the fall.

Worker falls from billboard
JULY 31, TIFTON, NY -- An employee of BPS, a Tifton sign company, fell 22 feet to his death while putting up a billboard. His identity has not yet been released.

Worker killed in dump truck rollover
JULY 31, TOPEKA, KS -- A Kansas Department of Transportation Worker is dead after the dump truck he was driving overturned in Neosho County. Richard W. Sheldon, 45, of Yates Center, had been working for KDOT since October.

Corporate plane crash kills eight
JULY 31, ATLANIC CITY, NJ -- A corporate jet crashed in southern Minnesota Thursday after encountering strong thunderstorms. On board were two pilots for East Coast Jets, as well as employees from Revel Entertainment Group, Tishman Construction Corporation (which is building Revel's $2 billion casino project in Atlantic City), and APG International (the company supplying glass for the casino's facade). Among the deceased are Tishman project manager Karen Sandland, 44, of Galloway Township, APG's chief operating officer Marc Rosenberg, APG's assistant project manager Alan Barnett of Absecon, and two pilots for East Coast Jets: Clark Keefer of Bethlehem, PA, and Dan D'Ambrosio, of Hellertown, PA. Revel Entertainment Group has not yet released the names of the three Revel employees killed in the crash.

Machine operator killed

JULY 30, ROMULUS, MI -- A experienced machine operator working at the Lincoln Park Boring Company was killed Wednesday when his clothing got caught in the machine and pulled him in. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Painter falls to death
JULY 31, GREENBRAE, CA -- Daniel Todd Towns, 31, a painter from Petaluma, was working at the Bon Air Apartments Monday when he fell from a roof or scaffolding 40 to 50 feet to his death. After being found by a coworker, Mr. Towns was rushed to the hospital with head wounds and internal injuries where he died late Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning. An experienced painter who had been employed at the apartment complex for five years, Mr. Towns is survived by his wife, young daughter, and numerous other family members.

Worker crushed at Jelly Belly plant
JULY 30, NORTH CHICAGO, IL -- A supervisor became concerned Wednesday night, July 30, when a candy panner never returned with a bag of starch he was asked to fetch. Coworkers discovered the body of Ismael Reyes-Calderon, 51, of Waukegan, OH pinned between a forklift and a bag of starch on a pallet. Mr. Reyes-Calderon had worked at the plant for 15 years.

Realtor dies in possible homicide
JULY 30, CHICAGO, IL -- The burned body of Harold Beilstein, 69, a long-time realtor from Mt. Prospect, was found Wednesday in the basement of a Chicago building that he owned. The cause of death was blunt trauma to the head and neck. In semi-retirement, Mr. Beilstein was still employed by Keller Williams Realty Partners in Park Ridge.

Truck driver killed in Georgia
JULY 30, CAMAK, GA -- A truck driver was killed early Wednesday morning when his big rig went off of Interstate 20 and crashed into a wooded area. The trucker had apparently been ejected from the cab; his body was found about 20 yards from the demolished cab. The name of the trucker has not yet been released.

Firefighter, 9/11 rescue worker dies
JULY 30, BLAKESLEE, PA -- A firefighter who was one of the first to arrive at Ground Zero in search of survivors, and who worked for more than 40-hours straight, has died of leukemia. Kevin M. Delano was 54. Mr. Delano, who retired in 2003 from the Fire Department of New York due to health conditions, was former chief of the West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department in Queens. His doctor attributed his leukemia to exposure to burning benzene at the World Trade Center site. Mr. Delano is survived by his wife, son, brother, and seven sisters.

Electrical worker dies in hospital
JULY 30, HAVERHILL, MA -- John Kaye, 52, of Hingham, MA, died Wednesday. Kaye, who was employed by Harlan Electric of Methuen, was working in a bucket truck on July 7 when he came into contact with electrical wires. Hospitalized since the shock, Mr. Kaye was in a coma and on a respirator when he died. Said one of his six surviving siblings: "Truly, there was no recovery possible. They did everything possible to keep him alive."

Man buried in trench collapse
JULY 30, MILLERSPORT, OH -- The body of Mark Keller, 27, of Harrison Township, was recovered early Thursday morning. Keller was digging the trench with a backhoe at a Fairfield County farm on Wednesday evening when its 10-foot walls caved in. More than 70 rescue personnel worked into the early hours of the morning to clear the soil and clay from the site. Mr. Keller leaves behind a wife and baby.

Crane accident claims life
JULY 30, SMITHVILLE, TX -- Bridge onstruction was halted Wednesday when a crane became overloaded, and smashed into a manlift before toppling into the Colorado river below. James Michael Miles, 47, of North Richland Hills, TX, was knocked out of his basket and fell 60 feet onto construction equipment below. OSHA and the construction companies involved are currently determining the best way of removing the crane and to prevent hydraulic fluid leaking from the crane from harming the river.

Contractor killed while directing truck
JULY 30, LAPLACE, LA -- A 25-year old, aspiring rap artist who loved sports and fishing, Carlos Morris of LaPlace was killed after he was pinned against a pile of steel by a truck he was directing Wednesday morning, July 30, at the Bayou Steel Corporation. The flatbed driver, who was driving the truck for the first time, visited Mr. Morris's family after the accident to apologize.

Energy pipeline worker killed
JULY 30, CARTHAGE, TX -- Hector Tarango, Jr., 35, of Enid, OK, was testing a new section of pipeline when an explosion occurred and a section of the pipeline was thrown at him, killing him. Mr. Tarango's brother and father, who also work for Wilbros Pipeline Co., were at the scene of the accident. He is also survived by his wife, his mother, and four sisters.

Taxi driver found shot to death in cab
JULY 30, MIAMI, FL -- When police responded to a report of a downed power line, they discovered a taxi cab crashed against it, its driver shot dead inside. Police suspect the cab driver was being robbed when he lost control of his car, knocked over a stop sign, and came to a crash against the pole. He is one of several South Florida cab drivers killed in recent months. The name of the cabbie has not yet been released.

Restaurant Owner Shot
JULY 30, TOTTENVILLE, NY -- Police are searching for clues in the murder of the owner of a popular Staten Island restaurant. Frank Fresca, 66, was found dead in front of his restaurant, Fresca's on the Bay, with multiple gunshot wounds to the head.

Maintenance worker killed in crossfire
JULY 29, EAST LIBERTY, PA -- A maintenance worker was carrying an empty cardboard box outside an apartment complex when he was shot in the crossfire of a gun battle and run over twice by a getaway car. Vincent Darnell Terry, 55, of East Liberty, had worked at the complex for about six weeks, sweeping, cleaning, and picking up trash. "This man was just working and died senselessly," said a police spokeswoman.

Construction subcontractor falls to death
JULY 29, SHORT PUMP, VA -- Matthew Paul Hawf, 25, of Liverpool, IL, was working at a hotel construction site when he fell 65 feet onto a concrete slab. His employer, a North Carolina-based company, has been cited in the past five years for several "fall prevention" safety violations. A spokesperson for the company overseeing site construction confirmed that said that Hawf was wearing a safety harness, but did not say whether that harness was attached to anything.

3 perish in paper mill explosion
JULY 29, TOMAHAWK, WI -- Three men were killed at a northern Wisconsin paper mill when a tank used to store recycled fiber exploded as they were performing maintenance on it. The victims were Randy Hoegger, 55, and Steve Voermans, both of Tomahawk, WI, and Donald Snyder, 46, of Merill, WI. The cause of the explosion has not yet been determined. The Packing Corporation of America's Tomahawk plant had received three safety citations, one of them serious (meaning there was a "substantial probability" of death or serious injury), in the past ten years.

Gas well worker killed in Burleson
JULY 29, BURLESON, TX -- A gas well worker died Tuesday morning after he was struck by a falling piece of pipe, Burleson city officials said. Billy Escobedo, 34, of Runaway Bay, died at the scene. City officials said there was a malfunction at the site that caused a section of pipe called a collar to fall as it was being lifted on to the platform. Sally Ellertson, a city spokeswoman, said that Mr. Escobedo suffered a head injury, but it wasn’t clear yet whether he was actually struck in the head by the pipe. An exact time of death wasn’t immediately available.

Truck driver killed in rollover
JULY 29, SAN DIEGO, CA -- Truck driver Buick Tuaa, 47, of Oceanside, was killed Tuesday evening on Route 76 when he lost control and ran his truck off the road into an orange grove. The truck rolled over, and Tuaa was ejected from the cab. He died before emergency personnel arrived at the scene.

Man killed by farm equipment
JULY 29, WINONA, MN -- Wayne Lester Denzer, 54, was working under a large brush cutter that was attached to a tractor and propped up by a jack when the jack gave way. The brush cutter, which weighed about 1,000 pounds, crushed Mr. Lester Denzer. His body was discovered by his father, who had gone looking for him. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Electrical contractor electrocuted
JULY 28, GWINNETT COUNTY, GA -- A 54-year old contracter died Tuesday at the Forum shopping center near Norcross. The worker, who was not breathing when firefighters arrived at the scene, was working on an electrical box behind a part of the building that is under construction when he was electrocuted.

Security guard crushed in "freak accident"
JULY 28, LAUREL COUNTY, KY -- Security guard Billy Thomas, 50, of East Bernstadt, KY, was closing a heavy iron gate Monday evening when it fell, striking him in the back of the head and killing him instantly. While police say this appears to have been a "freak accident", nearby residents said they'd seen the gate fall before. Mr. Thomas held his job for 12 years.

Scio teen killed when farm vehicle hits truck
JULY 28, PORTLAND, OR — The Linn County sheriff says a Scio teenager died when the farm vehicle he was driving collided with a log truck trying to pass. Sheriff Tim Mueller says 16-year-old Nathan Gourley died at the scene Monday. Gourley was driving a vehicle loaded with baled hay on Richardson Gap Road and traveling slower than the 55 mph limit.

Greenskeeper dies at Brockton golf course

JULY 28, BROCKTON, MA — A long-time city employee died Monday after collapsing while mowing the greens at the D.W. Field Golf Course. Michael J. Hamill, 44, was taken to Caritas Good Samaritan Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, according to Robert Bernier, golf course superintendent. Bernier said Hamill apparently suffered a heart attack. “He was driving a mower,” Bernier said. “Golfers found him slumped over a mower.” Rescuers responded to the scene at Oak Street golf course at 10:40 a.m. Bernier said Hamill worked for the city’s Park and Recreation Department for 20 years. He was one of four full-time employees at the golf course.

Port Dickinson Officers Dies of Injuries
JULY 28, BINGHAMTON, NY - The Port Dickinson police officer struck by a suspected drunk driver over the weekend has died. As a result, police could soon upgrade charges against 30-year-old Patrick Fitzgerald to include Vehicular Manslaughter. Early Sunday morning, 42-year-old Aldo Rossi was responding to a call of a tree down on the Hillcrest Service Road exit off Route 7. Police say Aldo, who worked part time for both Port Dick and Deposit, sustained severe head and leg injuries that led to his death earlier Monday. Friends and family of 42-year-old Aldo Rossi still can't believe he's gone. Chief Don Cantwell, Deposit Police, "His wife kept telling me she was just numb, everything is so recent that you can't even... Well I'm sure if you use your imagination, you can imagine it's a shock."

Body identified
JULY 28, SALISBURY, MD -- Police have identified the body of a woman found near Northwood Industrial Park as Audrey Jurewicz, 26. While police say the woman was killed, they will not discuss the details. Ms. Jurewicz was arrested for prostitution in June and was supposed to make a court appearance on August 18th.

Tree trimmer killed
JULY 28, MAUMELLE, AR -- An employee of All American Tree Services was killed Monday while trimming a pine tree. Seth Clark, 25, of Little Rock, was climbing down his ladder after having trimmed the top out of a 150-200 foot pine-tree when the top fell and hit him on the head. He was killed instantly.

DART employee dies at bus station
JULY 28, DALLAS, TX -- A retired bus driver who was working part-time in the marketing and communications department at DART died Monday night at Malcolm X station. James Mitchell, 68, was changing bus placards when he collapsed and hit his head. He was taken to Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas by a policeman flagged down by a witness. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

Truck driver killed in fiery crash
JULY 27, ALLENTOWN, PA - A fiery crash in Schuylkill County shut down a section of northbound Interstate 81 for four hours Sunday afternoon and killed a truck driver. Robert L. Poth, 39, of Tuscumbia, AL was heading south on Interstate 81 in a truck tractor with no trailer when his cab crossed the median into the northbound lanes, went up an embankment, overturned on its roof and caught fire, according to state police at Jonestown. Poth was killed and the fire destroyed the tractor. The accident happened around 1 p.m. near mile marker 106. The interstate was shut down between Exit 104 at Ravine and Exit 107 at Tremont/Tower City while state police investigated and the wreckage was cleared.

AT&T lineman dies on job
JULY 26, AMERICUS, IN -- Residents in Americus called 911 Saturday when they discovered the body of an AT&T lineman hanging from a harness connected to a 25-foot ladder. The worker was making repairs to a telephone wire. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

Diver dies working on natural gas pipeline project
JULY 26, GLOUCESTER, MA - A diver working on the construction of a natural gas pipeline 12 miles offshore died after an underwater mishap on Saturday morning. The 42-year-old man was working 62 feet under the surface when he reported over his radio around 9 a.m. that he was having trouble breathing. He was taken to the Addison Gilbert Hospital but was pronounced dead a couple of hours later. The diver was part of a project to build a $6 million liquefied natural gas terminal named Neptune. He was living and working on the construction barge Lone Star Horizon. He was an employee of Buffalo Industrial Diving Co., a subcontractor on the project, according to Carol Churchill, spokesman for Suez Energy North America, the company building the LNG terminal. She said she was saddened by the diver's death.

Melrose farmer dies in silo chute fall
JULY 26, MELROSE, MN - Stearns County authorities say a farmer is dead after falling down a silo chute near Melrose. Rescue workers found 66-year-old Norman Wieling unresponsive inside a barn when they arrived Saturday. Wieling was pronounced dead at Melrose Hospital. Investigators believe that Wieling had been working on a silo unloader, fell down the silo chute and struck 1 of the silo doors.

California blaze kills local firefighter, Wind shift at California wildfire

JULY 26, Seattle, WA - Dan Packer, Chief of East Pierce Fire & Rescuse and former president of the Washington Fire Chiefs had spent decades fighting fire in the dry, rugged mountains of the Northwest. He often took leave from his job to serve on a disaster response team tasked with controlling the stubborn blazes that flare up each summer. Over the weekend, though,a combination of fast fire and shifting winds took Packer's life at a Northern California fire. The Lake Tapps resident was 49. Packer was reported missing and presumed dead Saturday afternoon, the day after he was deployed to a 250-acre forest fire burning in Siskiyou County. The incident occurred the day after an 18-year-old firefighter based with Olympic National Park was killed fighting a separate fire in Northern California.

Experienced logger killed on job
JULY 24, SLOAM POINT, OR -- Jesse James Savage, 52 of Lostine, was logging red firs when a piece of a nearby dead tree fell and hit him in the head and shoulders. Mr. Savage was an experienced logger and mill worker who also owned and operated a door company. Emergency medical technicians believe he was probably killed instantly. Said his boss and friend, who was badly shaken by the incident, "Jesse only had about three hours of cutting left. Our log cutter quit us a week before and he was just trying to help us clear up."

Electrical worker killed
JULY 23, BASEHOR, KS -- Cody M. Horton, 52, was killed while stringing line from a trailer near Donahoo Road and 187th Street. The tension in the line apparently caused the trailer to bounce and the cable support wires to break, causing the trailer to flip over and crush Horton, who was still in the operating seat. Horton had been an equipment operator for Capital Electric Line Builders, Inc., for 35 years.

Ford Motor co. employee crushed
JULY 23, WOODHAVEN, MI -- Frederick Todd, an employee of the Ford Motor Company's Woodhaven Stamping Plant, was killed Wednesday when he was crushed by machinery. The incident, which resulted in a temporary closing of the facility, is under investigation by Michigan OSHA. This plant has a better-than-average safety record," said health manager Mike Mason.


doglover77 said...

You have an article about a tow truck driver in Columbus Ohio that was killed while loading a vehicle onto his flatbed. You have his name listed as "Sean Hicks". His name is Seth Hicks. Also, he died on August 1st so how you knew about it on July 31st is beyond me. I know these are the facts because Seth is my son.

Tammy said...

Ms. Hicks,

I am very sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused and for you loss also. I do know the importance of having corrections as many families have had to deal with this at some point including myself. To be honest when we can’t find a date we use one that is close. Now for the name I am not sure how that could have happened since we take it directly from the article if there is a link. We do our best and try to make it right when brought to our attention. So please accept our apology and if you need anything please feel free to contact any of us at USMWF. Best regards you will be in my prayers.

doglover77 said...

Thank you, Tammy. You can never have too many prayers!

Tammy said...

This is so true. A friend is lighting candles for our loved ones and I will have her light one for Seth.

Take care and as I said if you need anything and I can help I would be happy to. I will be out next week but Mary will be around and I will be back soon or you may shoot me an email for my phone.

God Bless

Anonymous said...

A couple was killed driving a semi truck outside Kingman Az on Saturday the 26th of July 2008 they worked for a trucking company out of Indianapolis Indiana... How is it there is no news on this accident and even nothing in Weekly Toll. When the Officer on the scene said it was the worst accident he had ever seen in his 20 years fo duty...

Tammy said...

Well the main reason is because we get our losses from the news and i am sure even then we do not get every single person. Not out of want for sure but we search or them we are not given them.

If you do have information and would like it posted i would be more than happy to do so. If you like you can even send me the police department and i would be happy to call and get what information i can.

We also only post once a week so if it was this last weekend it may be in but not posted yet.

I wish there were a way to get every single workplace loss but unfortunately everyone's view of what a workplace loss is if different. We place anyone who is on the clock no matter who they are so long as we get the information. We have even went as far as not knowing for sure and later moving the information down the post if it is not. We don't have the heart to remove them so we just ad a small note stating that we were sorry and that it was not a workplace incident but every loss counts.

I am sorry for any pain this may have caused we are not perfect and do what we can. We are always willing to add someone if they are not in the toll so please do send the info and we will get it.

Thank you

kendallseo said...

I wish there were a way to get every personal workplace decreasePembroke Pines Jeep but the fact is that every person's viewpoint of what a workplace decrease is if various.

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