Thursday, March 19, 2009

Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

Worker Electrocuted At Science Center

March 13, Hartford, Conneticut - A man in his early 20s was killed while performing work on the new Connecticut Science Center Friday morning. Hartford police said the man was electrocuted while working on the center's HVAC system. He was employed by RCMS Controls, of Wallingford, which specializes in the systems. Witnesses said the worker was found slumped on the ground just after 8 a.m. They said it is unclear how he was shocked, but was working on the heating and air conditioning system in the area where there are electrical cables. The man was taken to Hartford Hospital after being given CPR at the site. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Woman Killed at Local Vet Clinic

March 13, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - PA nasty divorce ended in the worst way for a beloved woman who worked at a pet clinic in Mays Landing, N.J. on Thursday. Her husband showed up at the clinic in the morning, shot her and then shot himself. Both died. "She had blood all over her hands. There was blood all over the door. It was horrible. I'm still shook up," said Joanne Bucca who works at the CVS right across the street from the All Paws Veterinary Clinic. A woman had run into Bucca's store asking workers to dial 9-1-1. The victim, Patrice Clemente, 50, had told co-workers she knew her life was in danger. They told her to call police. She chose not to, according to the Atlantic County Prosecutor.

Worker killed in elevator accident

March 13, Chelsea, Massachusetts - An employee of the State Garden produce market in Chelsea was killed Friday when an elevator fell on him. The 35-year-old was working in the elevator shaft when rigging meant to keep the elevator in place apparently gave way and crushed him at about 4 p.m. Police do not expect foul play, but state police and Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley are investigating the case.

Truck driver killed in Big Island crash

March 13, Honolulu, Hawaii - The driver of a pickup truck was killed after the vehicle hit a tree early today in the Big Island’s North Hilo district. The accident occurred at 2:30 a.m. on Amauulu Road near Maikalani Road. Big Island firefighters had to use “jaws of life” equipment to free the driver who was trappd in the cab. The victim's identification was not immediately available. The driver of a pickup truck was killed after the vehicle hit a tree early today in the Big Island’s North Hilo district. The accident occurred at 2:30 a.m. on Amauulu Road near Maikalani Road. Big Island firefighters had to use “jaws of life” equipment to free the driver who was trappd in the cab. The victim's identification was not immediately available.

Cab driver's shooting officially ruled homicide

March 13, Peoria, Illinois - The death of a cab driver who was shot multiple times during a robbery was officially ruled a homicide Thursday. Steven E. Shawver, 59, of 3214 NE Madison Ave. was shot and killed early on the morning of Dec. 9, while on duty. At an inquest Thursday, Peoria County Coroner Johanna Ingersoll said Shawver was responding to a fare when an unknown person or persons tried to rob him in the 1200 block of West MacQueen Avenue. No arrests have been made in relation to the slaying, ruled a homicide by a coroner's jury.

WEB EXCLUSIVE ... Construction worker dies after fall at OJR Middle School

March 13, Washington, Pennsylvania - A construction company employee who fell from scaffolding at an Owen J. Roberts Middle School construction site Thursday morning died, officials confirmed Thursday afternoon. The deceased person's identity was not known by press time as it was not released by any officials who were reached for comment. When reached by phone, Lenny Uddybach, a spokesperson with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, confirmed that OSHA "has initiated an investigation" into the fatal incident . However, she declined to provide details, indicating OSHA doesn't release details until its investigation is closed, a matter which would take up to six months to complete.

Robbers kill employee in North Side restaurant last night

March 13, Columbus, Ohio - An employee of a North Side restaurant died after being shot last night in a robbery. The robbery occurred at the Iftin Restaurant, 4191 Cleveland Ave., shortly after 10 p.m. Columbus police said the employee was shot when three masked men robbed the restaurant, which serves African cuisine and is owned by Hibo Omar. The employee was taken to Ohio State University Medical Center with several gunshot wounds. He died shortly before midnight. WBNS-10TV reported the dead man was Daud Osman, 38.

Irrigation work shot dead in Palmview

March 12, Near Palmview, Texas - The victim of an early morning homicide was a 63-year-old irrigation canal worker, not a teenage boy as previously reported. Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe TreviƱo said the man, whose identity they are not yet releasing, was working in the field when he was approached by two teenagers with guns about 6:30 this morning. The man swung a machete at one of the teens and was shot, killing him almost instantly. Sheriff's deputies responded to the call of a homicide at 6:49 a.m. Thursday along East Goodwin Road, south of 3 Mile Line Road near Palmview.

Worker crushed by 5-ton piece of steel

March 12, Fort Worth, Texas - Police say a 56-year-old worker was crushed Thursday when a five-ton piece of steel fell from a crane he was operating at a Fort Worth steel mill. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's office identified the man as Johnny Little of Joshua. The Dallas Morning News reports in its online edition Thursday that the accident happened about 6:20 a.m. at the Delta Steel mill in far south Fort Worth.

NYC sanitation worker dies

March 12, New York City, New York - A New York City sanitation worker has died after collapsing on the job. The 19-year veteran, Stephen Dixon, died of an apparent heart attack Thursday at a hospital in Far Rockaway, Queens. He was 61. The Uniformed Sanitationmen's Association says it was the eighth on-the-job death in less than six years. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty announced the death. They offered condolences on behalf of the city to Dixon's wife, Diane; their four children and seven grandchildren.

Smurfit employee electrocuted in Fernandina

March 10, Jacksonville, Florida - An employee at a Fernandina Beach industrial company was killed Tuesday night while on the job, authorities said. Fernandina Beach Fire Chief Dan Hanes said a 38-year-old worker at Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. on North Eighth Street was electrocuted about 11:30 p.m. The man went into cardiac arrest and lost consciousness after the shock. Paramedics tried to resuscitate him on the way to Baptist Medical Center Nassau, Hanes said. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Veteran Police Officer Killed

March 10, Corpus Christi, Texas - An abundance of sadness mixed with determination. That's the mood among members of the Corpus Christi Police Department as they mourn the loss of one of their own. Katy Kiser is first at five this evening with the story. Lt. Stuart Alexander, a twenty year veteran of the force was struck and killed by a vehicle involved in a high speed chase. This afternoon acting Police Chief Walsh released details on this tragic death. Lietenant Alexander it appears was laying out spike strips in the road, when its believed the suspect, 21 year old Daniel Lopez intentionally hit Alexander.


Total contract worker identified

March 10, Beaumont, Texas - Instead of focusing on getting immediate answers, Patric Wittwer's parents have been told to focus on burying their son. Wittwer, 24, of Aledo, died Sunday after an accident Saturday at Total Petrochemical in Port Arthur. He worked for McKinney Drilling, a company working on Total's expansion project. Kim Smith, risk manager for Keller Foundations, parent company of McKinney Drilling, said she has been in contact with the Wittwers to offer support.

Slain for $7, truck driver mourned

March 11, Albany, New York - Jason Rivenburg was cleaning the dashboard in the cab of a tractor-trailer, 900 miles from home, talking on his cellphone to another trucker, when 22-year-old Willie Pelzer walked up and shot the Schoharie County trucker twice in the head, South Carolina authorities alleged. The murderer left with $7. Rivenburg, 35, had gone back to long-haul truck driving for a few weeks as a fill-in driver after being laid off for the winter from his job operating heavy road construction equipment.

Fresno Cab Drivers On High Alert After Cabbie Is Shot To Death

March 11, Fresno, California – Cab drivers are on alert after one of their own is shot to death early this morning in Southwest Fresno. It's the second time in two weeks a cab driver has been shot, while on the job. Cab drivers waiting outside the Greyhound Bus Station in Downtown Fresno say Acapulco Cab driver Jesus Martinez was a good guy, new on the job. According to police, it was here that the cab driver picked up his last fare, before he was shot this morning. Ramon Alvarez, Cab Driver: "It is one of the most dangerous jobs in town.”

VIDEOS: Semi driver in fatal crash identified

March 10, North Liberty — Robert J. Ideker, 53, of Hokah, Minn., died today when the semi-trailer truck he was driving crashed on Interstate 380 about two miles north of Interstate 80. The State Patrol said the semi ran off the road as it was going north, struck a cement culvert and crashed into the bridge support of the Forevergreen Road overpass. The patrol said Ideker was dead at the scene. The cab of the semi was smashed in. A wrecker used a cable to pull the truck away from the bridge.

Cab driver fatally shot near Watts

March 9, South Los Angeles, California - The L.A. County Sheriff's Department is investigating the fatal shooting of a taxi cab driver in an unincorporated area bordering Watts. Deputies were responding to reports of a traffic accident, around 11:45 p.m. Sunday, when they found the wounded cab driver on a sidewalk, at Alameda Street and Tweedy Boulevard. He was pronounced dead at the scene. His identity has not been disclosed.

One killed in helicopter crash

Roanoke, Virginia - A Washington man has been killed after the helicopter he was piloting crashed in a field in central Kansas. The Kansas Highway Patrol has identified the man as 66-year-old Roger Hershner, of Sequim, Wash., who was flying from his home state to Virginia to perform contract work for the U.S. Forest Service. A state trooper said the plane stopped overnight Saturday in Ogallala, Neb., and left Sunday for Wichita for another layover.

Pa. fire police officer dies after collapse

March 9, Bart Township, Pennsylvania — A Pa. firefighter died after collapsing while on duty at a fundraising event Saturday. Fire police officer John G. Lawrence was directing traffic outside the Bart Township Fire Company in Lancaster County, Pa. when he experienced a medical emergency. Personnel attempted CPR and used an AED but were unable to revive FPO Lawrence. He died later in the day at a local hospital according to the Bart Township Fire Company. Funeral services for FPO Lawrence will be held Wednesday, March 11 at 11 a.m. at Shivery Funeral Home, in Christiana, Pa. FPO Lawrence is survived by his wife, mother, sister, three children and seven grandchildren.

Tacoma taxi driver found shot dead

March 8, Tacoma, Washington – Police are investigating after a taxi driver was found dead on Sunday morning. His family says 23-year-old Mohamud Ahmed is the man police found shot to death on the street outside his cab. Ahmed's company, King Cab of Fife, says Ahmed picked up a passenger at 3:26 a.m. outside a Tacoma restaurant. Then the car's GPS unit signaled that at about 4 a.m. the taxi stopped a couple miles away in the middle of the street, where Ahmed was killed.

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