Friday, March 11, 2011

Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

Truck Driver Dies in Major Crash

March 10, PIQUA, OH - 49 year old James W. Kennedy of Clio, MI died in an early morning wreck when his semi left the highway. Ohio State Highway Patrol said that the driver lost control of his vehicle in Piqua around 4:30 a.m. The truck drifted off the left side of the road, broke through a guardrail, then became airborne and ran, head-on, into an embankment before coming to rest across Garbry Road below. Troopers are investigating whether Kennedy may have fallen asleep or a medical condition may have contributed to the crash.

Worker Killed in Logging Accident

March 9, BEMIDJI, MN - 37 year old Lance Randal Bohlman of Eckles Township died Wednesday in a logging accident. It was determined that Bohlman had been operating a tracked skid steer outfitted with a logging sheer prior to the accident. Initial indications indicate that a log penetrated a gap in the cab floor and wedged up underneath a hydraulic pedal. Bohlman exited the cab to apparently clear the jam. but then the tension underneath the hydraulic pedal was released causing the boom arm to fall, fatally injuring Bohlman.

Dump Truck Driver Killed in Rollover

March 9, RAVENEL, SC - 59 year old David Rokusek of West Ashley died from injuries after being ejected from a truck Wednesday morning. The dump truck carrying sand overturned on County Line Road.

Falling Tree Kills Worker

March 9, HUNTERSVILLE, MD - 24 year old Kenny Lee Staley Jr. of Charles County, died Wednesday after a tree fell on him. Staley was working with a crew from a tree service company to clear a wooded lot. As one worker was using a chipper and the other cutting the tree, when Staley was walking to get a rake the tree came down on him. He died of head injuries.

Crew Member Dies When Drilling Rig Collapses

March 9, BAYOU SORREL, LA - 30 year old Skye Sonnier of New Iberia was killed when a drilling rig toppled onto a barge in the Atchafalaya Basin. Sheriff's spokesperson said Sonnier died when he was pinned between the toppled rig and a mud tank. The rig is owned by Estis Well Service of New Iberia.

Truck Driver Found Dead Inside Idling Truck

March 9, SOUTH BEND, IN - 63 year old Richard Jacobs of Star City, who reportedly sat dead in his idling cab for nearly a day, was found Wednesday by police along the St. Joseph Valley Parkway. According to police reports, Jacobs had a road atlas in his hands, which led them to believe he had pulled his truck off the road to read the map. No evidence suggested foul play, and a coroner surmised Jacobs, who had a history of medical problems, died of a heart attack.

Police Officer Serving Fugitive Warrant Shot

March 9, LIMON, CO - 27 year old Jay Sheridan, an officer of 6 1/2 years for Limon Police Department, was fatally shot Wednesday as he and Lincoln County deputies were trying to serve a fugitive warrant, Colorado State Police said Thursday in a statement. After shooting Sheridan the fugitive remained barricaded inside the home before eventually killing himself.

Letter Carrier Killed When Porch Collapses

March 8, DUNDEE, MI - 46 year old Nancy Schafer, a Dundee postal employee since 1993, was killed in a freak accident Tuesday. Schafer was killed Tuesday when the porch at a home where she was delivering mail collapsed sending two concrete slabs on top of her, Dundee Police Chief David Uhl said. When Schafer was standing on the porch, the slabs cracked and she fell into a 10-foot deep root cellar beneath the porch and the slabs, which weighed about 500 pounds each, also fell in and pinned her.

Worker Dies After Being Hit by Live Wire

March 8, NEW ORLEANS, LA - 27 year old Roberto Ruiz died Tuesday of electrocution while working under a house in St. Bernard Parish. Ruiz worked for New Orleans-based Tim Clack Construction, which elevates houses for Road Home applicants. Another worker, who wasn't present at the moment he heard a small scream, but that when he went under to pull Ruiz out, the wire was touching Ruiz in the mouth. He said he met Ruiz on Saturday, and speculated that he must have been a new worker.

Food Store Owner Found Shot to Death

March 8, ROCKY MOUNT, NC - 47 year old Rafiq Soufan, known as "Sammy" was found shot to death in the doorway of his store, Sammy's Food Mart. The police are treating this as a homicide investigation. They are searching for two suspects who are possibly travelling in an older model grey four door Toyota Camry. The car has three hubcaps and one black steel rim.

U.S. Deputy Marshall Shot by Fugitive

March 8, ST. LOUIS, MO - 48 year old Deputy U.S. Marshall John Perry died of his injuries after being shot in the head Tuesday while trying to capture a fugitive. Another deputy Marshall and St. Louis police officer were injured in the shoot out. The suspect was wanted on a warrant and after the officers escorted several children out of the home and began searching for the man, he opened fire on them. The suspect also died.

Worker Crushed Under Truck Tires

March 8, HARRISON, MI - 45 year old Chris Sible died Tuesday after being hit by a truck while working on a well at a home in Clare County. Sible and others were working on a well at a home where the driver of a well drilling truck had backed in to the inclined driveway, the sheriff said. A wooden block had been placed in front of one of the truck’s rear tires, and Sible bent down to pull the block away when the truck rolled forward, and his glove got caught between the tire and block, pulling him under the truck tire, Wilson said.

Worker Killed in Industrial Accident

March 8, NEW CASTLE, IN - An unidentified man from Lebanon died in an accident that occurred at the Alleghany Ludlum Steel Corp. plant in New Castle. He was a contractor working on a an overhead crane while standing on the platform of a scissor lift. The lift was extended 30 to 40 feet when it toppled over, throwing the men off the crane onto the concrete floor.

Department of Corrections Official Dies in Car Accident

March 8, FREDERICKTOWN, MO - Debra Collins, District Administrator for Missouri Department of Corrections, died after her car ran off the road on U.S. 67, officials said Tuesday. According to a press release, Collins was headed to a meeting in Poplar Bluff Friday when her vehicle overturned in a ditch on the highway. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Worker Dies in Accident of Bucket Truck

March 8, TALBOT, TN - 35 year old Danny Collins died and his passenger injured in an accident involving a bucket truck. Collins and his passenger were contractors for Lenior City Utility Board. According to witnesses, the truck was traveling east on Boyd's Station Road when it ran off the side. Collins over-corrected and crossed into the other lane, ran into a ditch and overturned. He was trapped inside the car and died at the scene. The passenger suffered non life-threatening injuries.

Semi Driver Killed in Accident

March 8, MIDLAND, TX - 45 year old Darin Gaylor died in a two vehicle accident on Tuesday. A man driving a Freightliner tractor trailer turned left in front of a Kenworth FedEx truck with two trailers. The FedEx truck, driven by Gaylor, then hit the side of the Freightliner. The driver of the Freightliner was taken to the hospital and faces charges in Gaylor's death.

Store Owner Dies in Fire

March 7, FAYETTEVILLE, AR - 57 year old Bruce Walker, owner of Flying Possum Leather, was killed in a fire at the store early Monday morning. A fire department spokesman said Walker's body was found face down on the floor. Crews performed CPR, but were not able to revive him. He suffered only minor burns, the spokesman said. Police said Walker's dog, as much a Dickson Street fixture as Walker, stayed with Walker's body until crews broke down the door to get into the building.

Logging Accident Claims Man's Life

March 7, BIG ISLAND, VA - 72 year old Jake R. Goff, working with Goff Logging of Big Island, was killed after a tree he was trying to cut down fell on him Monday afternoon, authorities said. A co-worker told authorities Goff was alone and cutting a tree with a chainsaw, the release said. It appears the tree Goff was cutting hit another tree, and a limb from that tree hit Goff.

Bridge Worker Dies of Head Injuries

March 7, BREMERTON, WA - 39 year old David Robecker of Shelton, injured while working on Bremerton's new Manette Bridge has died. Bremerton police say Robecker was injured Saturday when a winch malfunctioned and hit him in the head. Robecker worked for Manson Construction Company of Seattle. The accident is being investigated by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration because the injury happened on a barge on the water.

Truck Driver Dies When Truck Overturns

March 7, WYTHEVILLE, VA - 31 year old Nicholas Andrew Marlin of Telford, PA was killed on Monday afternoon after his rig overturned on Interstate 77, state police said. Marlin was traveling north on I-77 when his vehicle ran off the left side of the roadway and overturned. He was pronounced dead at the crash site at 3:30 p.m. Marlin drove truck for Hatfield Quality Meats.

Company Owner Dies After Being Trapped Under Door

March 7, BARNESVILLE, MN - 51 year old Stephen Peterson was found dead at the business he co-owns Monday. Peterson became trapped under the large garage door as it was closing at Barnsville Bus Company. He was found by his brother who had gone looking for him. The door apparently did not malfunction. Police are treating the death as an accident.

Refinery Worker Succumbs to Injuries

March 6, NORCO, LA - 29 year old Victor Rodriguez of Houston, TX died, and another injured, as a result of injuries sustained Sunday at Valero Energy Corp. refinery near Norco. According to police the workers were on an elevated piece of equipment when one smelled hydrogen sulfide and they began to evacuate the area. Rodriguez was found on the ground outside the ladder cage and suffered some head trauma. Police report that "The coroner told us there was head trauma, so we don't know if the ultimate fatal injuries were caused by the initial exposure (to hydrogen sulfide) or from the fall."

Man Killed Trying to Stop Robbery

March 5, BALTIMORE, MD - 57 year old George Marshall was killed and another employee injured when they tried to stop a man from committing a robbery. The men were working at Patapsco Valley Sales and Service when they heard noises outside. They discovered a man trying to break into one of the vehicles. Marshall was hit and killed by the suspect as he tried to leave the scene. The injured employee suffered non life-threatening injuries. The suspect faces murder charges.

Truck Driver Killed in Fiery Crash

March 5, NEW BRAUNFELS, TX - 49 year old Paul Goar of Live Oak was killed in a wreck Friday night. Police said the tractor truck pulling a trailer that Goar was driving veered off of the main northbound lanes, struck a guardrail and a large sign on the side of the roadway before bursting into flames. The sign then fell on the northbound lanes of Interstate 35 and was hit by another tractor truck, which then hit a concrete wall and jack knifed, police said. A Ford F-150 also struck a piece of the sign in the northbound lane. None of the other drivers was injured.

Alabama Town Mourning Loss of Police Officer

March 5, JEMISON, AL - Officer Donald Joshua Newman of the Jemison Police Department was killed Saturday afternoon while responding to an emergency call in the Chilton County town of Thorsby. Newman was en route to a two-car collision involving injuries to children when his cruiser hydroplaned on a stretch of wet road on Highway 31. Newman lost control of the car and hit a power pole. Officials say he was pronounced dead on the scene.

Cab Driver Shot and Killed in Possible Robbery Attempt

March 5, LAS VEGAS, NV - 30 year old Tesfaye Arze was fatally shot Friday. Police are searching for two suspects whose images are seen on the cab's interior camera. Arze was found outside his cab in a remote northeast neighborhood. Police say the death could have stemmed from a robbery that led to a scuffle.

Two Die in Tragic Construction Accident

March 5, UNION TWP, OH - Two brothers, 48 year old Michael Lewis of Lawrenceburg, KY and 36 year old Kenneth Lewis of Georgetown, KY were both found dead at a home they were renovating in Clermont County. Police believe the deaths were accidental, possibly the result of carbon monoxide poisoning. The home had no power and was undergoing renovations, Police Lt. Gaviglia said. The brothers were living in it while renovating it. A generator was found at the home and there were signs that it had recently been used, Gaviglia said.

Officer Dies of Medical Emergency During Training

March 4, ALEXANDRIA, KY - 58 year old James "Stumpy" Sticklen collapsed from a medical emergency while attending the final day of a 40-day course in Crisis Intervention Training, the department reports. Stricklen was the school resource officer serving the Campbell County School District, Bishop Brossart High School and St. Mary Grade School.

Woman Dies in Accident at Restaurant

March 4, OKLAHOMA, OK - 21 year old Cheryl Bauer died after an accident at the Paseo Grill Reserve in the city's Paseo arts district. Bauer's life was cut short this week when she died from injuries suffered Friday after a dumbwaiter malfunctioned, dragging her down a shaft. City officials have said that Bauer was either loading or unloading the dumbwaiter on the restaurant's first floor when it malfunctioned, falling to the basement and dragging her with it. Federal OSHA will be investigating the incident.

Car Wreck Claims Life of Social Worker and Child

March 4, PICKENS, SC - 36 year old Chrystal Nicole Harrison, a social worker for South Carolina Department of Social Services was killed, along with a child she was transporting, in a two-vehicle accident Friday in Pickens County, authorities said Saturday. Two teen boys, who were also passengers, were injured in the accident. Harrison was driving a state owned car when the driver of another vehicle crossed the center line and collided with Harrison's vehicle.

Worker Dies of Natural Causes While Working

March 4, ATLANTA, GA - 54 year old Kevin Hunter, a zoning county administrator for the DeKalb County Planning Department, died in his office Friday. Hunter’s cause of death was not immediately available, but county officials said he died from natural causes. Hunter worked for DeKalb for 13 years and handled many zoning issues for the county, Brennan said.

Accident at Lumber Company Kills Worker

March 4, FULTON, MS - 35 year old Jaime Underwood, an employee for Graham Lumber, died shortly after a workplace incident at an Itawamba County sawmill. The Lee County Coroner was told he may have been electrocuted, but ordered the autopsy.

Two Workers Die on Bridge Dismantling Project

March 2, MS/AR - After searching unsuccessfully for the names of two men who died while working for Granite Construction on dismantling the old Mississippi River Bridge between Mississippi and Arkansas I can only report the two as unidentified at this time. The only information I can find is that one 46 year old man died on site and a 21 year old man died later at the hospital. I will post their names as soon as they are published.

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