Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

3 oil field workers killed in accidents

February Casper, Wyoming - Three men have died in Wyoming's oil fields over the past month or so. Fremont County Coroner Ed McAuslan says 54-year-old Charles MacLachlan, of Mannford, Okla., died at a drilling rig site north of Shoshoni on Dec. 31. The coroner's report says MacLachlan was crushed by a trailer hauling sand to the rig site. McAuslan reports that 20-year-old Jeremy Jorgenson, of Fort Washakie, was killed in a one-car rollover northwest of Riverton on Jan. 1. Jorgenson reportedly had left a job site in the oil fields. The Sublette County Sheriff's Office says 29-year-old Quinn Reay Jessen suffered a head injury Jan. 5 on a rig near Pinedale and died Jan. 11. The accident is being investigated.

Cab Drivers Cautious Following Deadly Shooting

February 2, Syracuse, New York - 29-year-old Timothy Gordan has died after being shot in the head early Friday morning. Syracuse Police have arrested Denny DeJesus of Syracuse. Investigators say he shot 29-year-old Timothy Gordon when Gordon asked DeJesus to pay his cab fare. There were two other men riding in the cab with DeJesus. Their names are not being released because they had already fled the cab when DeJesus pulled a gun on Gordon. They have been cooperating with investigators. Police recovered the gun used to shoot Gordon at DeJesus's Court Street home.

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Well-known recycler killed on U.S. 287 in Lafayette

January 31, Lafayette, Colorado — A man known for riding his bicycle and picking up trash in Louisville and Lafayette was killed Friday afternoon when a car veered off the road and hit him while he was standing on the side of U.S. 287 in Lafayette, police said. John Breaux, 57, of Louisville was hit about 2:30 p.m. by a white Chrysler PT Cruiser driven by a Boulder woman, Lafayette police said. The driver was taken to Lafayette Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center, police said, and later was arrested. A Lafayette police officer said Friday night that charges are pending. The woman was driving north on the highway and veered off the right shoulder, where her car struck Breaux just south of a pedestrian overpass spanning the highway between South Boulder and Baseline roads, police said. Breaux had been walking in the grass with his bicycle parked nearby, loaded with bags of aluminum cans. “He was well off the road,” Lafayette Cmdr. Mark Battersby said. The Boulder County Coroner’s Office, which released Breaux’s identity about 9 p.m. Friday, said an autopsy will be performed today. In 2003, Breaux began picking up trash along McCaslin Boulevard and Main Street in Louisville, simply because he got tired of seeing it lie around. “I hate to see the city be like that,” he told the Louisville Times then.

Emergency Worker Killed; Suspect Charged

January 31, Watertown, New York - An EMT Volunteer from the Cape Vincent Fire Department was shot and killed overnight, while responding to a medical emergency. State Police said Mark Davis, 25, Cape Vincent, arrived at an apartment at 114 Esseltyne Street in Cape Vincent around 11:30 Friday Night. Immediately, Davis started treating the person who made the emergency call, Christopher Burke, 25, Sherrill, NY. After a while, Burke grew agitated and started talking about guns, police said. Davis, as well as another EMT Volunteer got nervous and decided to leave the apartment. Burke apparently ran into another room and grabbed a high-power rifle and fired off two shots at Davis, then tried fleeing the scene. The other EMT Volunteer, who was with Davis, tackled Burke to the ground until police arrived. Burke was arrested and charged with 2nd Degree Murder and Criminal Possession of a Weapon (4th). Davis was rushed to Samaritan Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.

Fort Worth nightclub owner killed in robbery

January 31, Fort Worth, Texas — A 50-year-old nightclub and restaurant owner was killed early Friday when he was shot multiple times during a robbery at his business. The victim, identified by friends as Will Walker, was pronounced dead at the scene. Walker and two employees were cleaning up the New Start nightclub and restaurant at 4505 Miller Ave. shortly after closing, when two robbers, at least one armed with a gun, entered the business through an unlocked door, homicide Sgt. J.D. Thornton said.

Police identify Neb. man killed in work accident

January 30, Lincolon, Nebraska - Lincoln police have identified the 51-year-old man who died in an accident at a soybean processing plant. Police say Robert Fitch died Thursday morning after falling some 30 feet at the Archer Daniels Midland plant in southwest Lincoln. Investigators say Fitch fell from an interior lift, similar to an elevator. He was taken to a local hospital, where he died from an apparent head injury. The plant makes vegetable oil.

Police Officer Struck During Route 1 Traffic Stop Dies

January 29, Bucks County, Pennsylvania -- Authorities said a Bucks County police officer who was conducting a traffic stop on Route 1 when a collision occurred behind him has died of his injuries. The incident occurred before 10:45 a.m. Thursday just south of the Interstate 95 interchange. SkyFox over the scene showed the cruiser up against a heavily-damaged gray, four-door car. A police sergeant said 37-year-old Middletown Township Police Officer Chris Jones was doing a traffic stop and writing a citation when an accident occurred behind him and a vehicle veered into him.

Cops: Gas station employee fatally shot in back

January 29, Staten Island, New York - Police say a gas station employee has been shot in the back while working on Staten Island. Fifty-year-old Mohammad Ahmad was hit in the back around 9 p.m. Wednesday. Police arrived shortly after a 911 call. They are looking for surveillance tapes at the Gulf Gas Station on Victory Boulevard. Ahmad was taken to Richmond University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. There have been no arrests. He reportedly made it back inside the attached convenience store and asked cashiers to call 911 before collapsing. Ahmad lived around the corner. His brother told the Staten Island Advance that Ahmad came to New York from Pakistan about 12 years ago.

Auburndale Worker Killed in Construction Accident

January 29, Auburndale, Florida – A 42-year-old Auburndale construction worker died Thursday morning in an accident at the city's wastewater plant. Mark Ingram was pinned between a concrete wastewater junction box and the bucket of a trackhoe. He was assisting coworkers in preparations to lower the junction box into the ground when the trackhoe shifted, crushing him against the concrete box. Ingram, who was working for Indian River Industrial Contractors, died at the scene, said Auburndale Police Lt. Thrasey Tucker. “This was purely an accident,” he said. “From a law enforcement perspective, there is no foul play, nothing of a criminal nature.”

Fund set up for family of worker killed by tree

January 29, Nashua, New Hampshire - A fund has been established to benefit the family of a worker killed Monday in an accident at a Nashua country club. Paul Messina, 50, died when he was struck by a tree he was cutting at the Sky Meadow Country Club on Spit Brook Road in Nashua. Messina left a wife, Laurel Messina, and two young children. Contributions can be made to the The Messina Family Fund c/o Laurel Messina. Family friends established the fund at TD Banknorth in Brookline, though contributions to the fund can be made at any TD Banknorth branch.

Culver City mourns police officer killed on 10 Freeway

January 28, Los Angeles, California - Massey Culver City is mourning the loss of a police officer killed in a head-on crash on the 10 Freeway in West Los Angeles. Sgt. Curtis Massey, who is survived by a wife and three young children, was a 17-year veteran of the Culver City Police Department and was assigned to the juvenile detective bureau. Police Chief Don Pedersen told reporters that Massey dedicated much of his free time to working with at-risk teens and every year volunteered for the Santa sleigh, a holiday event in which officers escort Santa Claus around the city and distribute presents to children.

Man killed at Mass. pool supply company

January 28, Cambridge, Massachusetts — Police have captured a man accused of chasing and fatally shooting a fellow employee at a Cambridge pool supply company. Authorities say 65-year-old Clyde Howard was caught Wednesday afternoon by Boston police, who found him inside his van in Boston's Roxbury section. Howard is to be arraigned Thursday on a murder charge. Howard, a custodian at the company, is accused of repeatedly firing at Maurice Ricketts, a machine operator, earlier in the day. The 33-year-old Ricketts later died at a hospital.

Injured prison worker dies Friday at Regional West

The construction worker who sustained critical injuries in a fall on Jan. 19 at the Department of Corrections Medium Correctional Facility in Torrington passed away on Friday. Goshen County Coroner Mike Patterson said Tuesday that Timothy Shaufler, 49, from Fort Lupton, Colo., died Jan. 23 at 10:05 a.m. at Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff, Neb., from head injuries sustained in the fall. According to the Torrington Police Department report, Shaufler walked into a darkened stair opening where there were no stairs and fell approximately 16 feet. He worked installing fireproofing material at the construction site. The police are classifying the case an accidental death.

Worker Dies in Council Bluffs Train Accident

January 28, Cedar Rapids, Iowa - Council Bluffs police say a Union Pacific railroad worker has died after being hit by a train. Police Sgt. Dave Dawson says Craig Lang, 41, of Neola was or had been working on a train when he was hit by a train going in the opposite direction about 6 a.m. on Wednesday in Council Bluffs. Lang died at the scene.

Update: Sheriff identifies body in trench

January 27, Topeka, Kansas - A man who was killed Monday afternoon near Manhattan when a trench he was working in caved in has been identified as Christopher Kramer, 25, of Alta Vista. Pottawatomie County dispatch received a call at 1:54 p.m. Monday from a Pottawatomie inspector who found an unresponsive man in a ditch at a residential construction site, said Pottawatomie County Sheriff Greg Riat. A deputy responded to 4189 McMillin in Manhattan and found a man who was mostly buried from what appeared to be a trench collapsing. Riat said the victim was installing plumbing lines at the housing development when the trench collapsed.

Fisherman dies after shipboard injury

January 28, Manasquan, New Jersey — A worker aboard a commercial fishing boat died Tuesday morning after his leg was caught in a winch while fishing about five miles off the coast. Billy Melgrum, 53, was pronounced dead at the Coast Guard station here after he went into shock following the injury, Petty Officer Crystal Kneen said. Melgrum was working aboard the 65-foot Lydia J, a commercial vessel that is part of the Point Pleasant Beach-based Fishermen's Dock Cooperative. The Coast Guard received a call from a crew member aboard the Lydia J just before 10:30 a.m. reporting that Melgrum had injured both his legs and needed medical assistance.

High Ranking State Police Officer Killed In Crash

January 28, Saugus, Massachusetts - Weather appears not to have been the cause for a car accident that killed a high ranking state police officer in Saugus overnight. Captain Richard J. Cashin's unmarked cruiser hit a utility pole and then crashed into a gas station on route one. The 52-year-old Cashin was on duty as the overnight shift supervisor of Troop A, based in Danvers. Cashin is survived by his wife and four children. He was a 28-year veteran of the State Police.

Contractor crushed by roofing trucks in Novi

January 28, Detroit, Michigan - A 45-year-old Dearborn contractor died after being crushed between two roofing trucks as crews packed up for the night Tuesday in Novi. The company had been doing work on a Novi home in the 45000 block of Addington Lane, near 10 Mile and Taft roads, Novi Police Chief David Molloy said today. Two box vans were parked in the driveway and running at 6:50 p.m., warming up before the workers left for the evening. Molloy said a preliminary investigation determined the parking brake disengaged on the truck closest to the street and the truck rolled forward, crushing the worker. Police were not releasing the name of the victim, pending the notification of family members in the region.

Worker Killed on Kanawha County Coal Mine Site

January 28, Kanawha, West Virginia - A man was killed on a coal mine site in eastern Kanawha County after getting into a single vehicle accident. A spokesperson for Patriot Coal, owner of Catenary Coal near Chelyan, said the accident took place around 9 a.m. on a mine haul road. The driver was a contract employee at Remington's Winchester Mine and was leaving work at the time. The company says it is not clear what factors lead to the accident at this point. The worker went to a local hospital, but died of his injuries.

Tow Truck Driver Killed by Sliding Car in Ector County

January 28, Ector County, Texas - An Odessa man is dead after being hit by a sliding car on Interstate 20. It happened in Ector County near mile marker 98 close to the Penwell exit around 9:30 a.m. According to troopers, a tow truck driver, 48-year-old Lawrence Roberts was working a previous wreck and had just secured the wrecked vehicle on his truck when went to get into the cab of his truck. Roberts was hit from behind by an oncoming car that slid on the ice. Roberts was taken to the hospital where he later died.

Feds to investigate firefighters' deaths

January 28, Longview, Texas - A federal agency will help investigate the deaths of two Kilgore firefighters killed Sunday during a ladder truck training exercise at Kilgore College. Kyle Perkins, 45, of Kilgore and Cory Galloway, 23, of Tyler died after falling about eight stories during the training exercise at Kilgore College's Stark Hall. Local investigators are working to determine where the men fell from and what caused them to fall.

Worker dies in Wabash Stuck in hole full of water

January 28, Wabash, Indiana - A Hartford City man died in Wabash Tuesday. Stephen Walls, 51, was stuck in a work hole full of water. Now Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Adminstration (IOSHA) is investigating what happened. Just after 4:00 p.m. Tuesday Wabash police got a 911 call. According to the police log, the caller said "they are digging a hole at Carroll and West Streets and they hit a water main with a man down in the hole and he's drowning."

2 die in separate farm accidents

Two men have died in separate Indiana farm accidents. The Marshall County Coroner's office says 31-year-old Andrew Hartman died after he became tangled in a piece of farm equipment on Monday afternoon at a farm near Plymouth, about 20 miles south of South Bend. A family member says Hartman got caught in the power take off shaft while working on a tractor. Meanwhile, a 64-year-old farmer died Saturday after his tractor slid or rolled down an embankment on a family farm near Spencer, about 15 miles northwest of Bloomington. Charlie Freeman died of his injuries after being taken to Wishard Hospital in Indianapolis. Family members say Freeman was awarded three Purple Hearts while serving with the Marines in Vietnam.

CDOT worker killed by motorist

January 27, Chicago, Illinois - The worker, an employee for the Chicago Department of Transportation, was hit by the vehicle shortly before 11 a.m. as it headed east near East 100th and South Calumet River Streets, police said. The worker was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.Julian Mitchell, 37, of the 4400 block of South Prairie Avenue, was pronounced at Christ Hospital at 12:45 p.m. this afternoon, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. He died from injuries sustained when he was struck by the vehicle. The motorist was trying to avoid hitting a parked vehicle, said Officer JoAnn Taylor.

Make-shift memorial honors slain pizza delivery worker

January 26, Las Vegas, Nevada - A card decorated with a hand-drawn pizza was left next to five bouquets of flowers Monday evening in a North Las Vegas neighborhood. Someone named Hali penned a message to the “Pizza Guy.” “You were a nice guy & always delivered our pizza,” Hali wrote. “Thank you & good luck in heaven.” The pizza delivery man fatally shot in a residential street Saturday night was identified Monday by the Clark County coroner’s office as 51-year-old John Norris of Las Vegas.

Man Dies in Trench Collapse Near Manhattan

January 27, Salina, Kansas - The accident happened at a new housing development east of Manhattan, in Pottawatomie County. The accident happened at a new housing development east of Manhattan, in Pottawatomie County. A construction worker has died in a trench collapse. It happened Monday afternoon at a new housing development east of Manhattan. The Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Office says the collapse happened around 1:45 in the afternoon Monday. The trapped man was in his 20s. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Fishing boat worker dies after accident off Monmouth coast

January 27, Newark, New Jersey - A worker on a commercial fishing vessel died this morning after his leg was caught in a winch about five miles off the coast near Manasquan, a Coast Guard official said, according to a report in the Asbury Park Press. Billy Melgrum, 53, went into shock following the injury, which occurred about 10:30 a.m., and was pronounced dead after efforts by state police to administer CPR. Melgrum was working on the Point Pleasant Beach-based Lydia J commercial fishing boat.

Worker killed when he falls off roof

January 26, Washingtonville, New York – A 50-year-old New Windsor man, who was working for a roofing contractor, slipped and fell to his death from a three-story building he and two co-workers were roofing, Washingtonville Police said. The accident occurred shortly before 3:30 p.m. on Monday. Police did not release the person’s name Monday night. He had been working on scaffolding on a storefront building when he fell, according to police. Police said the death appeared to be accidental, but that will be determined by an autopsy.

Police name cab driver killed in Baltimore

January 27, Baltimore, Maryland - Authorities have released the name of the cab driver from Frederick found shot to death in his cab in East Baltimore. Baltimore police say the body of 47-year-old Stephen Mauk was found in the driver's seat near a public housing complex in the 200 block of North Bond Street about 4 a.m. Monday. Police say he was shot in the head.

Perry County Tire Employee Dies After Accident At Work

January 26, Hazard, Kentucky - Perry County tire employee dies from injuries he received in a freak accident Friday. 56-year-old Eugene Combs was working on an 18-wheeler truck tire, when police say the tire exploded in his face. Co-workers tell us Combs would have turned 57 this week. “Anytime you go to work you're not expecting your loved one to be involved in a fatal accident, but this is just an example of how it can happen anytime and anywhere,” Hazard Police Chief Ronnie Bryant said. Employees tell us the tire blew out in the process of inflation.

Falling tree kills country club worker

January 27, Nashua, New Hampshire – A “freak accident” Monday morning caused the death of a man cutting trees at a private country club. An employee of Sky Meadow Country Club was killed after a tree he was cutting fell on him and crushed his chest. The man, whose identity has not yet been released, apparently had the tree come back on him as he cut it, Sky Meadow clubhouse manager Ed Callahan said.

Frederick cab driver killed in Baltimore

January 26, Baltimore, Maryland - The owner of a Frederick-based cab company says one of his drivers was found shot to death early Monday in Baltimore. Blaine Young, owner of Yellow Cab of Frederick, says the driver was found dead around 4 a.m. after the company received a call for a local pick up and drop off in Frederick. Young tells The (Baltimore) Sun that the driver told a dispatcher shortly after midnight that he had picked up the fare and was not heard from again.

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