Friday, April 01, 2011

Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

Businessman Found Shot to Death

March 31, MEXIA, TX - 56 year old Raymond Keith Jacoby was found shot to death outside his business on Thursday. Jacoby was owner of Mexia Recycling Plant. Police say he was evidently opening the plant for business when he was shot.

Chemical Plant Explosion Kills One, Injures Three

March 31, PORT ARTHUR, TX - 58 year old Johnny Williams of Groves has been identified as the employee who was killed in an explosion at KMTEX Chemical Plant on Thursday. Witnesses said one of the workers was welding a pipeline that contained coal tar naptha solvent when the fire occurred, although they thought all of the solvent was evacuated from the line, said Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Deputy Rod Carroll. Three other workers were injured in the blast and were taken to area hospitals.

Steel Plant Explosion Kills One

March 31, ASHLAND, KY - 61 year old Forest Brent Finley was killed as the result of an explosion and subsequent fire that occurred in a portion of the by-products area in the Ashland facility of AK Steel Coke Plant shortly before noon Thursday. Finley was an employee of a maintenance contractor working in the area of the explosion. An investigation is underway to determine the exact cause of the explosion.

Gas Well Rupture Kills Worker

March 31, MAURICE, LA - 52 year old Clarence Leleaux of Lafayette was killed in an incident at a gas wellhead Thursday. The incident happened at the Hilcorp Energy Co.'s Facility Maurice Hess on LeBlanc Road. A sheriff's spokesman said the initial investigation showed that a pipe on the wellhead had ruptured and although the exact cause of the accident remains unclear there was a pressure buildup in the well. The cause of the incident has not been determined, pending a full investigation.

Shop Owner Killed in Explosion

March 31, MILAN, GA - 66 year old Charles Campbell died from injuries suffered in an explosion at his shop Thursday. A leaking propane tank caused the explosion and fire that killed Campbell instantly according to a sheriff's spokesman. State and Dodge County investigators are still investigating the cause of the explosion.

Farmer Crushed Under Farm Equipment

March 30, LOST NATION, IA - 72 year old Gary Feuss died in a farming accident. Officials say their investigation indicates Feuss was operating a skid steer loader in a pasture two miles north of Lost Nation. They say Feuss was working on a hill when the machine rolled over and pinned him underneath.

Disposal Truck Driver Killed by Train

March 30, POCATELLO, ID - 40 year old Jimmy Keith Wilcoxon of Rigby was killed when his garbage truck was hit by a train. Wilcoxon's vehicle stopped on the railroad tracks just to the south of US 91 and at some point, the crossing gates came down on his vehicle. The train then struck the dump truck and Willcoxon was thrown from the vehicle and died from injuries he sustained during the crash.

Industrial Accident Kills Worker

March 30, MARIETTA, OH - 51 year old David Lewis Lightfritz died Wednesday after falling into a machine that sorts recyclables at the ReBay Recycling division of Marietta Industrial Enterprises. Lightfritz was using a forklift to drop recyclable items into the separator machine when he apparently fell in, said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks. OSHA will conduct an investigation as well as the company itself.

Truck Driver Killed in Crash

March 29, HANNIBAL, MO - 60 year old Michael J. Callow of Moline, IL was killed Tuesday when his semi traveled off the right side of the highway, struck several trees and overturned, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. He was not wearing a seat belt.

Three Die in Plane Crash

March 29, MONROE, MI - The owner of Toledo based Conforming Matrix Corp. and two of his employees were killed in a plane crash on Tuesday. 58 year old Rick Howell of LaSalle, owner and pilot; 30 year old Nathan Brahier of Fremont, a CAD specialist and 40 year old Jeremy Tate of Oregon, a sales specialist were killed when the plane went down near Munson Park in Monroe. Witnesses said the plane flew erratically over the tennis courts before descending to the ground, bursting into flames between a goalpost in the endzone of a soccer field, near a sand volleyball court. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Recycling Center Worker Dies in Incident

March 29, BRENTWOOD, NY - 44 year old Augustin Colon of Westbury was killed in an industrial incident involving heavy machinery. Colon was under a debris sorting conveyor belt at Emjay Environmental Recycling in Brentwood when he apparently got his arm lodged in the belt and became trapped in a piece of machinery. He was last seen around 1:00pm and found by co-workers at 4:30pm. The incident is under investigation.

Bar Owner Dies of Stabbing Injuries

March 29, WILMINGTON, OH - Jim Xidas, owner of Manhattan Lounge was found stabbed at his bar Tuesday morning. Xidas was taken by care flight to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, where he later died from his injuries. No other information on this incident is available at this time.

Employee Dies of Head Injuries

March 29, CRYSTAL LAKE, IL - A 53 year-old ComEd employee died from his injuries Tuesday after being struck in the head while on the job, a ComEd spokeswoman confirmed. The company would not release the man's name. The incident is under investigation. A fire department spokesman said ComEd was doing pole replacement at the intersection of Crystal Lake Avenue and East Street when the man was struck. UPDATE: Authorities have identified the victim as 53 year old Kelly Skiles of Lyons, WI.

Gas Tanker Explosion Kills Driver

March 28, FORT WORTH, TX - Alejandro Raya was killed when the gasoline tanker he was driving was hit head-on by a wrong way driver. Police said the driver of a red pickup truck was going the wrong way when it slammed into the tanker. The tanker exploded, trapping Raya, and burned for hours. The driver of the pickup has been arrested and charged with Raya's death. Investigators said the pickup driver told them he'd had about 10 beers before getting behind the wheel and does not remember the crash.

Man Dies in Fall From Storage Rack

March 28, SALISBURY, NC - 47 year old Gary Donald Merrington died in an industrial accident Monday. It appears he fell from a storage rack while working at Sysco Guest Supply Co. Merrington was a warehouse supervisor at the company, which supplies lodging and hospitality products. He worked at the company for about seven years. An investigation has been started by the N.C. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Division to determine the circumstamces of the incident.

School Board Member Collapses at Meeting

March 28, OCEAN CITY, NJ - Audrey Eichenberger collapsed during a bond referendum meeting Monday and died at a hospital about two hours later. Upper Township School Superintendent Vincent Palmieri issued a statement saying Eichenberger, who faithfully served the township for more than 45 years, suffered a possible heart attack during Monday's meeting. She was reportedly not feeling well Monday but went to the meeting anyway.

Worker Crushed Under Falling Beam

March 28, DAYTON, OH - 40 year old Kevin L. Hughes was killed while dismantling a large vacant industrial building on Monday afternoon. A four-man crew was working inside the building when a steel roof support beam fell on Hughes, killing him instantly, Dayton Police Sgt. Chris Weber said. The men were using an acetylene torch to cut the beam when it gave way, he added. Details are not clear but appears the crew worked for a subcontractor for the building owner Rita Construction Co. Inc.

Business Owner Found Shot to Death Inside Office

March 28, ATLANTA, GA - 56 year old Derek Moses was found shot to death by a co-worker in his office Monday morning but police do not have a motive or suspect. Moses was owner of Derek Moses & Co., an accounting business. He was also Associate Pastor at Providence Missionary Baptist Church in southwest Atlanta. His car was missing but later located abandoned on Montreat Ave.

Trucker Dies in Rollover Accident

March 28, HEMPHILL COUNTY, TX - 27 year old Richard Valdez of Wellington was killed when he drove off the side of Farm to Market Road. He over corrected when the truck went into a ditch and he was thrown from the truck. He was not wearing a seat belt and died at the scene.

Tractor Trailer Driver Killed in Accident

March 28, HEMPHILL COUNTY, TX - 27 year old Richard Valdez died Monday when the tractor trailer he was driving left the highway and overturned into a ditch. Valdez then over corrected, which caused the truck and trailer to nearly turn over and come to a stop on its side. Valdez was ejected and pronounced dead at the scene.

Deputy Killed From Tragic Circumstances

March 28, TYLER, TX - 54 year old Smith County Deputy Robert Britton died Monday after being severely injured March 24. Britton was helping direct traffic around a large cow that had been hit by two cars. Few noticed that the cow was attempting to stand when it charged Britton and another deputy. Britton was hit by the cow in his chest, knocked backwards and hit his head on the pavement. He fought for his life at a Tyler hospital but died of head trauma.

Marine Terminal Worker Dies When Hit by Forklift

March 28, PORTSMOUTH, VA - 38 year old Paula Bellamy died Monday morning of injuries she sustained in an accident involving a forklift. Bellamy was working as a "slinger," or a guide to a crane operator, for Ceres Marine Terminals Inc. and was standing on the pier and using a radio to guide a crane operator when a forklift driver nearby picked up steel bins. With the bins blocking his view, the forklift driver moved the machine forward and ran into Bellamy.

Priest Suffers Heart Attack During Service

March 28, JACKSON, MI - 50 year old Randy Miller, a priest who collapsed while saying mass Saturday evening at St. Mary's Star of the Sea Church died Monday night at Allegiance Hospital. He suffered a massive heart attack and never regained consciousness.

Pilot Killed While Performing at Air Show

March 27, JACKSONVILLE, FL - 58 year old William "Wild Bill" Walker of Cookville, TN was killed when his plane crashed at the Flagler County Air Show in Florida. Walker, an experienced pilot had been flying a single-engine Yak 52 plane with the six-man Red Thunder Demonstration team at the show. Witnesses said two planes went into a loop, but Mr Walkers didn't level off. There was a split second silence before the plane plunged to the ground and burst into flames.

Worker Died in Industrial Accident

March 27, TARRANT, AL - 48 year old Joseph Edgar White of Townley died Sunday from an industrial accident. White was the operator on a cab that runs on tracks and loads raw coal. He told co-workers over their walkie talkies that the coal was stuck in the bin and he was using a sledge hammer trying to loosen it. A short time later he was found unresponsive on a catwalk. Authorities have not confirmed the circumstances that led to White's death.

Two Employees Murdered by New Hire

March 27, BATON ROUGE, LA - 55 year old Randy Chaney of Greenwell Springs and 43 year old Edward Gurter of Denham Springs were murdered at the CarQuest store they were working at on Airline Highway. Their killer was a 21 year old man who had been hired to work at another CarQuest store almost two weeks ago. Robbery was the initial motive.

Church Camp Volunteer Dies in Vehicle Accident

March 27, LONGBRANCH, WA - 23 year old Max Denby was killed in an accident Sunday when the old converted mail truck he was driving slipped in the mud, hit a tree, tipped over and pinned him to the ground at a youth camp in the Longbranch area of Pierce County. Investigators believe the crash happened hours earlier when Denby, a volunteer at the camp, drove the truck at low speed down a hill. The truck slipped in the mud and hit an uprooted a tree. The truck, which had large sliding doors, tipped over. Denby wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was ejected. He was crushed by the truck, police said.

NY Officer Killed During Traffic Stop

March 26, CLARENCE, NY - 43 year old New York State Trooper Kevin Dobson was killed Saturday during a routine traffic stop. He had pulled over a motorist for speeding near the Colvin Boulevard on-ramp, when another driver coming up the ramp struck him. Trooper Dobson had his car positioned correctly, lights on and afforded himself a lane for protection. The driver who hit Dobson did stop and return to the scene.

Bus Driver Dies After Crash

March 26, HAZELTON, PA - Robert Steiner of West Hazelton was found unconscious after his bus crashed into a utility pole. No information is provided as to the cause of the accident. Three passengers of the Luzerne/Wyoming Counties Transportation Department bus were taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries.

Truck Driver Dies of Injuries in Crash

March 26, MERCER, PA - 52 year old Thomas Jondura of Rockaway, NJ died Saturday of head and neck injuries suffered when his rig overturned in PA. Police say Jondura's rig veered off the road, hit a guard rail and rolled over, throwing him from the vehicle. Jondura's rig was registered to Big Red Transport of Great Meadows, N.J.

Food Plant Employee Killed in Industrial Incident

March 26, FORT MADISON, IA - 30 year old Brian J. Stice of Keokuk died as the result of an accident at Pinnacle Foods near Fort Madison early Saturday morning. Stice was cleaning an auger when he got caught in the machine. A Pinnacle Foods spokeswoman said the circumstances surrounding the incident is under investigation.

Truck Driver Killed in Fiery Crash

March 25, LARAMIE, WY - 48 year old Jerry Roberts of Omaha, NE was killed in the early hours Friday in a fiery wreck on Interstate 80 between Laramie and Cheyenne. He was a driver for Fremont Contract Carriers. Another semi driver who was new to driving truck was somewhat disoriented and driving too slow. Roberts hit the rear of that semi which then cased the FCC truck to explode and catch fire.

Farmer Suffers Fatal Injury to Leg

March 25, HOPE, AR - 62 year old Leonard Clyde Brown died after suffering an severe injury to his leg in a farming accident. Bowen and two farm employees were unhooking a tiller from the rear of a tractor when, after having problems unhooking the PTO shaft connecting the tiller and the tractor, Brown stepped between the PTO and the tiller. Brown told the employee to turn on the PTO and then off quickly when is when his leg became caught in the tines of the tiller. The employee on the ground was able to pull Bowen from the tiller, but not before it had caused major damage to his leg.

Truck Crash Kills One

March 25, PHOENIX, AZ - 30 year old Rigoberto B. Meneses died Friday morning in an accident involving a dump truck. Meneses was driving a truck hauling a trailer full of landscaping debris when he reportedly made a turn into another truck traveling in the opposite direction. Speed is being reported as a factor. The driver and passenger of the other truck sustained minor injuries.

Quarry Worker Killed by Semi Trailer

March 25, PERRY, KS - 34 year old Luke Forsberg of Oskaloosa was killed when he was hit by a semi trailer in the parking lot of his employer Hamm Inc. Trooper Taylor said the men involved were both Hamm employees. Forsberg was an electrician and the driver had the proper license to drive a semitrailer, the trooper said. The circumstances of the incident are still under investigation.

Truck Crash Kills Semi Driver

March 25, ABILENE, TX - 39 year old Darien Lee Cain died Friday as a result of a tractor trailer accident on Interstate 20. According to DPS, Cain lost control about 5:50 p.m. The truck left the roadway and struck a bridge before sliding into a creek. The crash is being investigated by DPS officials.

Underground Coal Miner Killed

March 25, MARTIN COUNTY, KY - 54 year old Robert L. Cook of Inez unfortunately became the first miner in 2011 to die in a mining incident. According to preliminary accident reports, Cook was fatally injured when he became pinned by the boom on a continuous-mining machine. Cook was working at the Czar Mine near Bear Water Branch which is operated by Matrix Energy, LLC. The actual cause of the incident is unknown at this time.

Warden Service Pilot Dies in Crash

March 24, AUGUSTA, ME - 60 year old Daryl Gordon of Eagle Lake, a Maine Warden Service pilot, has died after his service plane crashed Thursday. Pilot Gordon was flying general patrol north of Moosehead Lake when he received information that Warden Andrew Smart was stuck with his snowmobile in deep slush on Eagle Lake along the Allagash Waterway. Pilot Gordon helped Warden Smart free his snowmobile and took off in the direction of his home base and was not heard from again. The area was experiencing snow squalls. Pilot Gordon was a 25 year veteran of the agency.

Tractor Trailer Wreck Kills Driver

March 24, SUMMERTON, SC - 67 year old Thomas Toole of Altoona, FL was killed early Thursday in a wreck on Interstate 95 near Summerton. Toole, who drove long-distance semi-trucks for P & E Transport, was driving south and drove off the left side of the road into trees, where his vehicle caught fire.

Road Construction Worker Killed

March 24, BROWARD COUNTY, FL - 40 year old Junior St. Auben Pardo died on Florida's Turnpike Thursday after he was struck by a traffic roller, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Pardo was in a construction zone, work being done to widen the turnpike in Broward County, when a traffic roller backed into him. He died at the scene.

Semi Driver Suffered Medical Issue Before Crash

March 24, TROTWOOD, OH - 50 year old Luke Anthony Sanders of Blakely, GA suffered an aneurysm while driving his truck Wednesday before crashing into a house. He died the day after. Witnesses said they saw the truck going about 10 mph northbound when it crossed the southbound lane, went across 50 yards of grass and crashed into the house, Beck said. The corner of the house was demolished. It is believed he likely lost consciousness due to the aneurysm and suffered only minor injuries from the crash itself.

Worker Killed on Road Project

March 22, MARIETTA, GA - 23 year old Donald Holland of Dallas, GA died Tuesday after a morning accident at a work site on Tower Road near WellStar Kennestone Hospital. Holland was working for Baldwin Paving Co., Inc. when he was pinned between a skid loader and a bulldozer. A report stated Holland had a severe laceration to the liver, massive bleeding, and died before/during surgical attempts. The circumstances surrounding his death are being investigated.

Death in February, Just Being Reported

February 12, SPRINGFIELD, MA - Jimi Lee Gibb was killed when he fell off the city owned Asylum Building while clearing snow. Gibb worked for Advanced Tree Service. Mary Hoye, OSHA Area Director said the company failed to notify them of the accident even though, by law, they are required to within eight hours of the accident. Instead the family notified the OSHA of Gibb's death. Springfield's Mayor Sarno's Communications Director Tom Walsh said they did not go public with the information because there was no foul play with the death and the man was a private contractor and not a direct employee of the city.

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