Monday, December 22, 2008

Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

Man shot and killed while arriving to work in Flintstone

Dec. 19, LaFayette, GA - A 45-year-old man was shot and killed while arriving for work early Friday morning on Pipe Shop Road in Flintstone. Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said Mike Mullens of Chickamauga was found shot to death inside his pickup truck at 6:30 Friday morning. Mullens was a co-owner of Premier Pattern and Machine in Flintstone. “Apparently, he arrived right around 6 a.m. for work and he was shot one time in the head, before he exited his vehicle,” Wilson said. “He was shot while he was still sitting behind the steering wheel.

310 Club Employee Killed In Saginaw Gunfire

Dec. 21, Saginaw, MI - Police said a Saginaw man died from a gun shot wound he sustained Friday night at a nightclub in downtown Saginaw. The unidentified 41-year-old man, who was providing security at 310 Club, was shot in the torso and died hours later at St. Mary’s of Michigan Hospital. Saginaw police said a fight between club-goers began at about 11:30 p.m. and that the man most likely wasn’t the gunman’s intended target.

Fire at auto repair shop leaves 1 dead

Dec. 21, St. Rose, LA — Investigators with the state Fire Marshal’s Arson unit are looking into a Friday-night blaze at an auto repair shop that left one man, an employee, dead, a spokesman for the office said in a release. Firefighters with the St. Rose Fire Department were called out to the fire at Capitano’s Truck Repair, 310 Almedia Road, at 9:41 p.m. Friday, spokesman Marc Reech said in the release. The deceased man’s name was not released Saturday pending notification of family and an autopsy, Reech said.

Inmate worker on trash truck crushed to death

Dec. 21, Houma, LA — A 33-year-old Lafourche work-release inmate died Saturday morning after he slipped under the tires of the garbage truck he was riding on and was crushed, police said. James Ellis Griffin, of Houma, was picking up trash about 5:40 a.m. on Venture Boulevard with a truck owned by Solid Waste Disposal Inc. when he slipped as he was trying to get onto his perch on the back, Terrebonne sheriff’s Maj. Malcolm Wolfe said. Griffin was a hopper on the SWDI truck, the name for the workers who ride on the back to load garbage into the compactor. The truck was backing up between stops on the 300 block of Venture Boulevard when Griffin was killed.

Worker, 19, killed by saw at wood plant

Dec. 19, Trevorton, PA - A 19-year-old Danville man was killed on Friday at a wood processing plant when he was struck by an overhead saw while cleaning debris from under the blade.Emmanuel Lapp, of Belle Hollow Road, Danville RD, was working at Irish Valley Hardwoods, in Rockefeller Township, at 12:55 p.m., when the accident occurred, according to Northumberland County Coroner James F. Kelley. Lopp was pronounced dead at 1:45 p.m. at the accident scene of "sharp force trauma to the head," read the coroner's report.

Botanical garden accident kills 1, injures 18

Dec. 19, Atlanta, GA - One man heard a “thud.” Another recalled yells echoing through the trees at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Crews were pouring concrete for part of the elevated walkway when it collapsed shortly after 9 a.m., dropping workers as far as 40 feet to the ground. The botanical garden in Midtown, normally a place where moms bring their kids in minivans and SUVs, suddenly was clogged with ambulances. The fatality was 66-year-old Angel Chupin, according to the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office. A preliminary autopsy indicated he died of blunt force injuries.

Man, 63, killed in Maui industrial accident

Dec. 18, Honolulu, HI - A 63-year-old Lahaina man was killed today after being pulled into a commercial wood chipper. The victim was identified by police as Alfredo Sarian, an employee of West Maui Land Co. who was planning to retire this month. Sarian was operating the wood chipper alone in the area of Olowalu Landing, police said. He was pulled into the machine when he attempted to grab for a branch within the wood chipper. A co-worker turned off the machine after hearing Sarian's screams. Sarian worked 18 years for Pioneer Mill before joining West Maui Land Co. seven years ago.

Upstate NY man electrocuted working on power line

Dec. 19, Solvay, NY - Investigators are trying to determine how a village worker was electrocuted while working at a central New York job site. Marc Mallaro, a 48-year-old line leader for the Solvay Electric Department, was killed Thursday while working on a 13,800-volt power line. Co-workers say Mallaro was a supervisor who typically worked on the ground but decided to pitch in Thursday and went up in a cherry picker while three other crew members stayed below. Mallaro was working only a few minutes when co-workers heard a loud bang. They immediately lowered the bucket and began CPR on Mallaro until emergency personnel arrived.

Worker killed in backhoe accident while cleaning debris from Gustav

Dec. 19, Baton Rouge, LA - A freak accident Thursday afternoon left a Department of Public Works employee dead. The victim was working in a ditch behind a neighborhood helping to clear logs left over from the storm. Witnesses say the victim was driving a backhoe up a sloped part of the ditch when it tipped over and landed on him. The huge piece of equipment crushed the worker and killed him.
The victim's name has not been released.

Snowmass Ski Area employee dies of injuries

Dec. 18, Aspen, CO - A 19-year-old Snowmass Ski Area employee injured in a snowmobiling accident while working on the mountain has died of his injuries. Aspen Skiing Co. says Tim Riley died Wednesday at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction. He had been in a coma since he struck a tree early Dec. 5. Riley had worked as a snowmaker at night. Snowmakers often travel around the resort by snowmobile as they check snow guns along trails.

Injured officer dies - 2005 wreck left him with brain injury

Amarillo Fire Department Lt. Ed Selman lowers the flag to half-staff Wednesday at the AFD administration building. The department lowered flags for part of the day to mark the death of Amarillo police Officer Mark Simmons. Simmons was injured on duty in March 2005. Simmons, 30, died at his home in Quanah on Wednesday, more than three years after a car crash left him with traumatic brain injuries. His death is the first to occur in the line of duty for the department since 1985, and the 12th in its history.

Crossing guard killed in street honored with award

Dec. 17, Boston, MA - A Dorchester crossing guard who died while on duty in October was remembered with an award for community service. A ceremony, held today at the Mathers Elementary School, honored the life of Marie Conley. Conley was killed while on the job. She was helping a student cross the street when an oncoming car hit her.

Man Found Dead Inside Area Business

An area business reopens after a well-known businessman was found dead inside the facility.Wednesday, around 2:30 p.m. a Copper Bar employee found the owner Rick Lundstrom dead in the bar's basement. An autopsy will take place Thursday.Vigo County Coroner Dr. Roland Kohr does not suspect foul play. Lundstrom owns the Copper Bar in downtown Terre Haute and Louise's restaurant located at the airport.

Police ID Helicopter Mechanic Killed in Crash

Dec. 17, Santa Clarita, California - A mechanic was killed Wednesday morning when a gust of wind caused a helicopter to blow over and spiral out of control. The mechanic was struck by one of the aircraft's blades. "It was hovering above the ground. A gust of wind made the helicopter spiral," and the blade struck a Swanson Aviation mechanic on the ground, Garrido said. Officials say the helicopter was lifting a new power line when the accident occurred.The mechanic was identified early this evening by the coroner's office as Curtis Dale Cauthen, 31, from Arizona.

Falling 600-pound pipe crushes man to death

Dec. 17 Bath Township, MI - A 33-year-old Pennsylvania man was killed Wednesday when a 600-pound pipe fell from a semitrailer and crushed him as he stood alongside the trailer, police said.A fork lift, on the opposite side of the trailer, was off-loading another pipe when the accident happened, Bath Township police said. The man was pronounced dead at the scene, Lindemulder said. Authorities did not release his name, saying family members still were being notified.

Lockheed guard kills worker, self

Dec. 17, Archbald, PA — Authorities say a security guard at a Lockheed Martin plant near Scranton fatally shot a plant employee Tuesday morning, then killed himself. State police said a murder-suicide Tuesday morning at the Lockheed Martin plant on Kennedy Drive in Archbald claimed the lives of a man and woman. Authorities say 59-year-old George P. Zadolnny of Taylor shot and killed 46-year-old Deborah Bachak of Mayfield with a .40 caliber Glock handgun at the defense contractor’s Archbald plant before taking his own life.

Man dies while removing snow

Dec. 17, Mapleton, IL - The body of a 31-year-old central Illinois man has been pulled from a sludge pond he apparently drove into while removing snow. Peoria County's coroner says Scott Weir of Eureka was pronounced dead Wednesday at a chemical plant in Mapleton where he'd been clearing snow in a Bobcat-type tractor the night before. Coroner Johnna Ingersoll says Weir had been clearing a road skirted by sludge ponds. She says he likely went off the road not realizing the snow-covered ponds were there. At some point, the vehicle became fully submerged.

Sanitation Worker Dies After Fall From Trash Truck

Dec. 16, Woodbridge, Va. - Prince William County (web news) police say a sanitation worker was killed after a co-worker backed over him with a trash truck. Police say 23-year-old Rodrigo Jaime Hernandez fell under the truck while trying to hop on the back of it Monday near Herons Run Lane and Express Drive in Woodbridge. Police say the driver couldn't see Hernandez. Both men are employed by Manassas, Va.-based American Disposal Services.

Worker killed, another injured at NC plant

Dec. 16, Charlotte, NC - Authorities say one worker died and another was injured following an industrial accident at a North Carolina steel plant. Charlotte Fire Department Capt. Rob Brisley says one worker was found dead early Tuesday at Gerdau Ameristeel. The company's Web site says it has a steel plant in Charlotte. Details were sparse, but one official said the original call for help said someone was trapped. Investigators from the company, the North Carolina Department of Labor and local agencies were on the scene.

Cabbie Killed When Car Jumps Curb

Dec. 16, Naperville, IL - A 45-year-old taxi driver was killed Monday evening when his car jumped a curb, went through a fence and struck a tree in a west suburban cemetery, police said. The accident happened about 5:20 p.m. at Hillside Road and Main Street in Naperville, according to a release from Naperville police. Officers responding to a report of the single-vehicle crash inside the Naperville Cemetery found the driver, Phillip A. Smith of Downers Grove, unconscious. Smith, the only person in the 1993 Ford Crown Victoria 4-door taxi, was transported to Edward Hospital in Naperville where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Cab driver found shot to death

Dec. 16, Raleigh, NC - A cab driver was shot and killed about 11 p.m. Monday in the parking lot of the Quail Ridge Apartments in the 1400 block of Quail Ridge Road in North Raleigh, police said this morning. Police say the victim is Michael Howard Palmer, 59. Palmer worked for AAA Taxi & Transportation, police Sgt. Kevin Carswell said. Palmer picked up a passenger about 10:30 p.m. Monday at the Greyhound bus station on West Jones Street downtown, Carswell said. Police are trying to find the passenger; they have not said whether he or she is a suspect.

CHP officer dies after freeway accident

Dec. 15, West Covina, CA - A Santa Fe Springs CHP officer was killed early Monday when a car collided with another vehicle then hit him, authorities said. Officer Joseph Sanders, 29, and his partner were working the graveyard shift around 4:20 a.m. when they encountered a pickup truck that spun out on the 60 Freeway near Azusa Avenue. While Sanders' partner was talking to the driver, the second traffic accident occurred, fatally injuring the officer.

Brinks Security worker dies after store shooting

Dec. 15, Greensboro, NC - An employee of Brinks Security has died after being shot during a robbery outside a Greensboro store.The News & Record of Greensboro reports that the Brinks worker had picked up money in the Old Navy store at Friendly Center Monday morning when the suspect approached him. Several bags that the victim was carrying were reported missing. The unidentified victim died at a local hospital.

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