Monday, February 15, 2010

Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

Qualcomm employee dies after jump from office building

February 18, San Diego, California — A 28-year-old Qualcomm employee jumped to his death Thursday from the roof of a company corporate office building in Sorrento Valley, the Medical Examiner’s Office said. The man was married and lived in Mira Mesa, the medical examiner said. He jumped off the roof of a 12-story Qualcomm building on Pacific Center Boulevard in Sorrento Valley about 7:12 a.m. and was dead at the scene, the medical examiner said. Emily Gin Kilpatrick, director of corporate communications for Qualcomm, issued a statement offering condolences to the man's family, friends and colleagues.

One killed in church roof collapse in Sampson County church roof collapse

February 18, Clinton, North Carolina — One person was killed when the roof of a church in Sampson County collapsed on Thursday afternoon, authorities said. The Sampson County Highway Patrol said crews were working on the roof of the new sanctuary at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, 3790 Faison Highway in Clinton, when it collapsed just before 4:30 p.m. Two others were injured and taken to Sampson Regional Hospital. One of the patients was later airlifted UNC Hospital.

Corrections officer killed in Highway 2 crash

February 18, Sultan, Washington - Not 50 feet from where he was killed on US 2 Wednesday, a white cross now stands in memory of Bruce Ramsey, a veteran corrections officer at the state prison in Monroe. He was a man who many times put his life on the line for fellow officers. "He was the best correctional professional we have at the institution," said Rick Samp, "He served the community here, more than anybody will ever understand." Samp never imagined his friend would die this way. Ramsey was riding his motorcycle on US 2 in the afternoon sun when a teen driver pulled in front of him, killing him.

Tesla workers killed in plane crash identified

February 18, East Palo Alto, California - The San Mateo County coroner on Thursday identified the three Tesla Motors Inc. workers it believes were killed in a plane crash in East Palo Alto on Wednesday morning. One of the people identified was Doug Bourn, a senior electrical engineer who had been identified Wednesday as the owner of the Cessna 310 that crashed. The other two, Andrew Ingram of Palo Alto, an electrical engineer; and Brian M. Finn of East Palo Alto, a senior manager of interactive electronics, had been identified by some publications before the official announcement.

Man dies at Eyota hog farm, fumes suspected

February 18, Eyota, Minnesota - A worker at an Eyota Township hog farm was pronounced dead at Saint Marys Hospital Wednesday afternoon. Investigators suspect Carlos Remirez-Perez, 29, died from fumes inside one of the buildings at Schoenfelder Farms on Southeast 55th Street. Remierez-Perez was unresponsive when he was found by coworkers around 2:45 p.m. Eyota Ambulance tried to revive him at the scene, but he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Worker dies at northern Iowa industrial plant

February 18, Belmond, Iowa - The Eaton Corp. says a worker has died on the job at its plant in Belmond in northern Iowa. Company spokeswoman Julie Habbouche says 51-year-old Doug Barkema, of Belmond, died in the accident on Wednesday. She says Barkema was a machine operator and had worked at the plant for 24 years. Habbouche declined to comment on the accident, but did say an investigation was under way.

Atlantic City police officer dies from accidental gunshot

February 18, Atlantic City, Georgia — Atlantic City police said an officer has died from an accidental gunshot wound. Police Chief John Mooney said 31-year-old Officer Kevin Wilkins was trying to put a rubber sleeve on the grip of his pistol as he sat in his patrol car around 1:30 a.m. today. He had removed the ammunition clip, but was struck in the face by the round in the chamber when the gun accidentally discharged.

Worker killed in Wilson packaging plant accident

February 18, Wilson, North Carolina — A worker at a Wilson packaging plant died Thursday afternoon after falling into a machine, authorities said. Police were called to Peninsula Packaging Co., at 2540 Wilco Blvd., at about 2:20 p.m. in response to an industrial accident. Emergency workers found that Anthony "Tony" Ballew, 44, of Mount Olive, died after getting trapped in a production machine, police said. The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health was investigating the accident, said Neal O'Briant, spokesman for the state Department of Labor. A preliminary investigation determined the worker was caught in an extruder machine, he said.

Man killed in industrial accident identified

February 17, Milwaukee, Wisconsin - A man who died Tuesday after he was trapped under a piece of steel at an industrial facility in West Milwaukee has been identified by the Milwaukee County medical examiner's office as Leroy J. Baker. Baker, a 61-year-old Milwaukee resident, was pronounced dead shortly after noon at Galland Henning Nopak, Inc., 1025 S. 40th St., according to a medical examiner's report.Baker was injured when an 8-foot by 10-foot piece of steel that weighed at least 2 tons fell from an overhead lift hoist he was using to move the steel into a building, according to a medical examiner's report.

Oil Tank Explosion Kills One Worker

February 16, Beggs, Oklahoma - One worker is dead and several others are lucky to be alive after an oil tank explodes. It happened southwest of Beggs in Okmulgee County late Wednesday afternoon. Emergency crews were called to Dentonville Road at about 4:30 this afternoon not knowing what they would face when they got there. "It was a tanker, a site tanker, that ended with the fatality of one of the workers out here," says Okmulgee County Sheriff Eddy Rice.

Worker dies after sheet metal falls on top of him

February 17, Milwaukee, Minnesota - A 57-year-old worker at a West Milwaukee manufacturer is dead after a piece of sheet metal fell on top of him. The accident happened about 11 a.m. Tuesday at Galland Henning Nopak Inc., which manufactures pneumatic and hydraulic cylinders and valves, and scrap recycling equipment. The man's name has not been released. But his wife told WISN-TV that he had worked at the manufacturer since he was 16 years old.

Trench Collapse Victims Identified

February 16, McLoud, Oklahoma – The two men who died when a trench collapsed Tuesday have been identified. According to Medical Examiner spokesperson Cherokee Ballard, the two men are identified as 44-year-old Keith Haddox and 32-year-old Justin Johnson. The workers died after being trapped when a hole collapsed at about 2:45 p.m. and dumped nearly two tons of dirt on top of the workers at the site near State Highways 62 and 102. Construction workers tried to dig them out by hand, but it proved too dangerous, even for fire crews, to proceed with the rescues.

Police officer killed in Georgia

February 16, Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia - A Georgia police officer was gunned down while patrolling a sparsely populated area in Chattahoochee Hills, authorities said Tuesday. Officer Mike Vogt was shot with a high-powered gun while driving his cruiser Monday. He was able to call for help, but was pronounced dead after a helicopter rushed him to a hospital, Col. Jeff Holmes of the Fulton County Sheriff's Department said. "We will be turning up the heat and trying to find the perpetrators of this horrific crime," Holmes said at a news conference.

Construction accident kills worker

February 19, Baton Rouge, Louisiana - A 32-year-old construction worker was killed today after falling about 20 feet when the lift he was in was struck by a beam, causing it to fall over, Baton Rouge Police spokesman Sgt. Don Kelly said in a news release. Police are looking for the victim’s family and have not released his identity, Kelly said. He said the man was Hispanic and died at the scene from “apparent head trauma.”

4 dead, 1 missing in small plane crash at Monmouth Executive Airport

February 15, Trenton, New Jersey - Four of the five people aboard a small plane that crashed around 4pm today near Monmouth Executive Airport in New Jersey are confirmed to have been killed, and the remaining person aboard the plane is missing, the AP reports. A witness reported that the plane appeared to “break apart” over the airfield 35 miles outside Trenton before coming down over a snowy field. Investigators indicate that there is a large “debris field” involved in the crash. Witnesses also say the plane was a Cessna 337 Skymaster, and an employee of a restaurant just outside the airport describes the crash:

Pilot with local ties dies in Iowa plane crash

February 15, Forest City, Iowa - A former resident of Columbiana with Clanton roots died in a plane crash near Forest City, Iowa on Friday. Tommy Shelton of Destin, Fla. was piloting the plane when it went down south of Forest City shortly after 2 p.m. There were no passengers on board. Shelton was the son of the late Russ and Margie Shelton, who owned and operated Shelton Motors -- a Buick, Pontiac and Oldsmobile dealership -- in Clanton for many years.

Security guard dies after scuffle with teen at grocery store

February 15, Wayne, New Jersey - A security guard at a Wayne grocery store died after a scuffle with a 15-year-old shoplifting suspect, authorities said Sunday. Police said Samir Mourad, 42, of Clifton was unconscious when they arrived at the ShopRite on Hamburg Turnpike at 6:40 p.m. Saturday. The security guard had suffered an apparent heart attack during an altercation with the teenage boy that Wayne police described as "wrestling." Mourad was taken to nearby St. Joseph's Wayne Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

span style="font-weight:bold;">Central Pa. Officer Killed While Directing Traffic

February 13, Mill Hall, Pennsylvania ― Authorities in central Pennsylvania say a fire police officer was struck and killed while directing traffic around the scene of a crash. State police in Clinton County say 62-year-old Donald Mellot of Flemington was hit about 1:30 p.m. Friday on Lusk Run Road about two miles from Central Mountain High School. Police say the Woolrich Volunteer Fire Company member was later pronounced dead at Lock Haven Hospital. Police said the vehicle drove through a coned-off area. The accident remains under investigation. Authorities say the victim was one of several fire police officers called to the scene after a car and a pickup collided, shearing a utility pole.

Mass. officer dies of injuries suffered in accident David T. Zolendziewski suffered injuries after his cruiser skidded on some ice

February 13, Holyoke, Massachusetts - Police officer David T. Zolendziewski died Thursday of complications from injuries suffered two months ago when his police cruiser skidded on some ice and struck a tree, Police Chief Anthony R. Scott said. Zolendziewski, 53, was a 23-year-veteran of the Holyoke police, appointed to the force as a reserve officer by Mayor Ernest Proulx on March 18, 1985, and named a full-time officer on April 28, 1986.

Mourners Grieve At Funerals For Connecticut Workers Who Died In Power Plant Explosion

February 13, Middletown, Connecticut - Hundreds of mourners attended funerals around the state Saturday for three Connecticut pipe fitters who were killed in the Kleen Energy plant explosion in Middletown Feb. 7. More than 120 people paid their respects for Ronald Crabb, 42, who was active in local politics, at a funeral Mass at St. Andrew Church in Colchester. Crabb, a family man and avid outdoorsman, served on the Democratic town committee and board of finance and was married to local probate judge Jodi M. Thomas. About 300 people said goodbye to Raymond E. Dobratz Jr., 58, at First Church of Christ Congregational in Old Saybrook. Friends and family hugged each other while "Amazing Grace" played as the casket was carried out of the church. Dobratz was a well-known figure in town as a coach and a co-founder of the Old Saybrook Youth Football Athletic League. He formerly served on the police and park and recreation commissions and the Democratic town committee. And about 275 people said goodbye to Peter C. Chepulis, 48, an outdoorsman who enjoyed riding Harleys, at St. Thomas Church in Thomaston.

Man injured in explosion dies

February 12, The man who died Wednesday following an industrial accident in Schofield was remembered Thursday as a man who loved God and helping his fellow soldiers. Capt. Eric Simpson, 31, of Schofield was a chaplain in the Iowa National Guard and was scheduled to be deployed later this year to Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Greg Hapgood said. Simpson was working at Quality Surface Processing, 1070 Pine St., Tuesday when he was burned by scalding liquid from a chemical salt bath. He died Wednesday at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Burn Center in Madison. The cause of the accident is under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Colo. Worker Dies When Excavator Tips Into Wyo. Pond

February 11, Laramie, Wyoming- A Greeley, Colo., man died when the excavation machine he was driving fell into an ice-covered retention pond at a Laramie car wash. The Laramie Police Department said 42-year-old Tracy J. Whitehouse was driving the excavator at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday when it tipped on its side. The operator's cab broke through 8 inches of ice and was submerged in mud and water. Searchers first tried to locate Whitehouse in the cab but couldn't find him. A water rescue team found his body in the pond about 5 hours later.

Worker Crushed In Bobcat Accident

February 11, Owings Mills, Maryland - Baltimore County fire officials said a man was killed Thursday in an accident in which he was crushed by a Bobcat. Director of Public Information Elise Armacost said the incident happened shortly after noon at a Sunoco gas station in the 10000 block of Reisterstown Road. Armacost said the victim was a motorist who got stuck in the snow. He stopped at the Sunoco for assistance and asked if he could use the Bobcat on the gas station lot. The man was told it wasn't working and he offered to repair it, Armacost said. The victim was crushed as he tried to lift a piece of the equipment, which simultaneously lifted another part of the machine that fell on him.


Body of worker killed at U.S. plant coming home

February 9, Middletown, Connecticut - The body of a local man killed in a U.S. plant explosion last weekend will receive a hero's welcome today. Hundreds of construction workers, plus family and friends of Roy Rushton are expected to greet the hearse carrying his body as it arrives outside P.X. Dermody Funeral Homes on King Street East. Rushton was among five killed when the Kleen Energy Systems plant in Middletown, Conn., exploded at 11:15 a.m. Sunday. The 36-year-old husband and father was installing insulation at the under-construction plant.

Worker found dead at Wainwright

February 10, Barrow, Alaska - North Slope Borough police say a worker was found dead at a job site at Wainwright. Workers with SKW/Eskimo Inc. on Tuesday morning tried to contact 21-year-old Cory T. Mayer of Wainwright by radio, and when he did not respond, they went looking for him. Co-workers spotted Mayer lying in a work site hole, not moving, and called police. Wainwright emergency workers tried to revive him and transported Mayer to the Wainwright Health Clinic, where he was pronounced dead. The state medical examiner is planning an autopsy.

Pasco bouncer killed day before birthday

February 9, Pasco, Washington - On a day when Froilan Godines should have been celebrating his 42nd birthday, loved ones were busy making his funeral arrangements as they struggled to understand just what happened outside a Pasco bar early Sunday. Godines, a bouncer at El Patron Night Club, was fatally stabbed an hour after he confronted a customer about stolen alcohol. He reportedly was attacked as he walked to his car. Isabel Montes fought through her tears Monday as she described her father as "a wonderful person" and "a great man" who was always willing to help those in need.


Old Saybrook Resident Raymond Dobratz Among 5 Killed In Middletown Blast

February 9, Old Saybrook, Connecticut - Raymond Dobratz, a veteran pipefitter, had been working 12-hour days, seven days a week, helping build the Kleen Energy Systems power plant in Middletown — and he loved it. A member of the Connecticut Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 777 for 38 years, Dobratz was passionate about his craft and was enjoying the frat-like camaraderie among the group of guys working at the site. "He said it was the best job he ever worked on," said his son, Erik, 36. "He died doing what he loved." Dobratz, 58, was one of five people killed during an explosion Sunday morning at the power plant.


Florissant Man Killed In Connecticut Plant Explosion

February 9, Florissant, Connecticut - A Florissant man is one of the five people killed a massive Connecticut power plant explosion, Sunday. Chris Walters, 48, was a safety supervisor for Keystone Construction in Massachusetts. He took a temporary job at the plant after being laid off from another construction job. His wife Fran is finding it hard to believe her husband of seventeen years is gone."He was wonderful," she says. "He loved his family more than anything in the world, and would give you the shirt off his back if you needed help, and he had just met you.

Man killed Sunday along Turnpike identified as Hempfield man

February 9, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - A tow-truck driver attending to a crash scene on the Pennsylvania Turnpike was struck and killed by an out-of-control tractor-trailer Sunday night in Mt. Pleasant Township. Michael T. Pegg, 39, of Hempfield, an employee of Weavertown Towing Garage Services in Hunker, died at the scene of the crash in the westbound lanes of the turnpike, 4 1/2 miles west of the Donegal interchange, Westmoreland County Deputy Coroner Jerry Fritz said. Pegg had been called to assist at an accident and was walking along the highway's berm when he was hit around 7:05 p.m., state police at New Stanton reported.

Man Killed by Dump Truck

February 9, Auburn, Alabama - A 20-year employee of East Alabama Paving Company of Opelika, died on site in Auburn Monday. Ronald Gary Taunten, of Columbus Georgia was directing heavy equipment when he was crushed by a dump truck. Witnesses say that every safety measure was taken to prevent this kind of accident from happening. Taunten was wearing his safety vest, and the alarm on the truck was operational. Officials are investigating the surroundings of the accident.

Construction worker dies at LJ project

February 9, Lake Jackson, Texas — Officials are trying to determine how a construction worker died inside an unused sewer line Monday as he crawled down a manhole to pull out a valve. Medical officials said it is likely the 23-year-old man died from gas fumes remaining in the old line. Officials had not released the man’s name late Monday afternoon, pending family notification. Lake Jackson EMS Director Fred Ortiz said he was the first rescue worker on scene at the highway construction site at Highway 332 and Oak Drive. Officials were dispatched about 1:42 p.m. Monday.

5 killed in Middletown power plant explosion

February 8, Middletown, Connecticut - Fire officials in Middletown, CT say they don’t believe anyone’s missing in the rubble of the power plant that exploded yesterday morning. Crews spent the night going through debris in case there were more victims of the blast that killed at least five and injured a dozen or more. Red Cross volunteer Heather Tolley says they’ve set up a center to help those affected. “Mental health services, we are also fielding phone calls and emails from concerned family members from really around the globe. Our job there is to connect them with the right resources so they can get their questions answered.” The plant was still being built, so officials say it’s not clear how many workers might have been on the scene for the explosion.

Tenn. Officer Dies From Crash Injuries

February 8, Springhill, Tennessee - A Spring Hill police officer injured in a crash Friday night died at Vanderbilt Medical Center Sunday. Officials confirm Cpl. Jeremy McLaren died at 12:15 p.m. Sunday. McLaren's leg was broken in the crash at the intersection of Highway 31 North and Bear Creek near the Columbia city limits. According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, a red truck driven by Billy Colen Stafford of Shelbyville ran through a red light at the intersection, and collided with McLaren's cruiser. The impact pushed the officer's car into a nearby parking lot. McLaren had to be cut out of the wreckage.

Oconee County Deputy Killed While On Duty

February 7, Oconee County, South Carolina - An Oconee County sheriff's deputy was found dead early Sunday, pinned between his patrol car and a tree. It appears that the car of 26-year-old Deputy William Frederick Schuck III had gotten stuck at about 1:35 a.m. on a private dirt road in the 6000 block of North Highway 11 near Walhalla, the sheriff's office said. He called his wife at about that time, the sheriff's office said. Investigators said that they believe Schuck had gotten out of his car to examine the situation when the car went forward and pinned him. Schuck's manner of death was classified as accidental, Oconee County Coroner Karl E. Addis said in a press release on Sunday.

Springfield man found dead near Eugene railroad tracks

February 7, Eugene, Oregon - Police released the name today of a man whose body was found early Saturday near the railroad tracks in West Eugene. They are investigating the death as a homicide. The body of Ronald Leo Langlois, 44, of Springfield was found at 4:47 a.m. adjacent to Portland & Western Railroad tracks between West Second Avenue and Cleveland Street. Langlois, a railroad employee, died of a gunshot wound, said Melinda A. Kletzok, police spokeswoman

Construction Worker Killed in Accident

February 5, Cullman, Alabama - A construction worker was killed Friday in Cullman County after building material fell on him. A 54-year-old man died when the material fell on him at a work site on Highway 278 at Kugler Creek. Workers are currently straightening and expanding the road, which has been the scene of deadly accidents in the past few years.

NYC construction worker falls to death

February 5, New York City, New York - Police say a worker has died after falling from scaffolding at an upper Manhattan construction site. Police say 51-year-old Josef Wilk, of Jackson Heights, Queens, fell from the 3rd floor into a construction elevator shaft on West 129th Street just after 2 p.m. Friday. Police say Wilk was taken to St. Luke's Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Police are investigating, but no criminality is suspected.

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