Friday, June 03, 2011

Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

Lawyer Murdered by Client's Ex-Husband

June 2, YUMA, AZ - 62 year old Jerrold Shelley was shot to death inside his office Thursday by a gunman who also killed five others in an angry rampage. Mr. Shelley had represented the gunman's former wife in divorce proceedings, the police said. They said the victims included the gunman's former wife and others he knew. After killing the five people and wounding another, the gunman killed himself. Police are still investigating.

Firefighter Dies Fighting House Fire

June 2, SAN FRANCISCO, CA - 48 year old Lt. Vincent Perez died and another critically injured while trying to battle a house fire in Diamond Heights. He and the other firefighter were trapped inside the home and caught in a "flashover" - an unexpected explosion caused when temperatures rise so high the contents of a room spontaneously ignite, Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.

Tree Service Worker Dies of Electrocution

June 2, ORMOND BEACH, FL - 36 year old Damien R. Mays of Daytona Beach was electrocuted while working to trim a large palm tree. Police say Mays was working with a crew Thursday morning when he used a harness and spikes to scale a large palm tree. He was cutting fronds and one got caught on a nearby power line. Mays was unconscious and still strapped to the palm tree when rescue workers arrived. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. It is unclear by the article if he worked for Dahryll Brown's Tree Service or Terry Smith's Tree Service as family stated.

Grandfather Killed in Store Robbery

June 1, FORT WORTH, TX - 66 year old Azmi el Qutob was shot and killed in a robbery Wednesday. According to surveillance video, it took a robber only 30 seconds to walk into Smokey’s Paradise Food Mart on East Rosedale Street, shoot Qutob and leave the store with money. Police say Qutob did not resist and his death was senseless.

Two Tow Truck Drivers Die in Collision

June 1, NEW PORT NEWS, VA - 54 year old John D. Patrick of Hampton and 60 year old Warren Bills of New Port News were killed in a collision between their trucks on I-64 today. According to reports Bills, a driver for Superior Towing was loading a sedan onto his truck when Patrick, a driver for Big Bob's Towing, sideswiped the Superior truck and struck Bills. The Big Boy's Towing truck continued forward, overturning and then sliding across the interstate on its roof. Patrick's family told police he had a heart condition and an autopsy will be performed.

Second Worker of Most Recent Hoeganaes Plant Fire Dies

June 1, GALLATIN, TN - Richard Lester of Hendersonville has died of injuries he sustained in a flash fire May 27 at the Hoeganaes plant in Gallatin. Lester died one day after Eric Hulsey and another worker remains in critical condition at a local hospital. A gas leak is suspected of causing the brief fire that five employees were in close proximity to, according to the initial investigation, Marcey Wurst, corporate human resources officer of Hoeganaes corporate office in New Jersey.

Landscaper Hit and Killed by Out of Control Car

June 1, MORGAN HILL, CA - 57 year old Salvador Pedraza, who was doing landscape work, was struck and killed Wednesday morning when a driver veered off the roadway and went into a drainage ditch, according to police. Pedraza worked for Nueva Vista, a residential care facility for mentally ill adults.

State Trooper Injured in 2003, Dies

June 1, MIDDLEBOROUGH, MA - 58 year old Ellen Engelhardt, a MD State Trooper, has died of injuries she received when hit by a drunk driver eight years ago while on duty. She suffered severe brain injuries when an 18 year old drunk driver slammed into her patrol vehicle at approximately 100 miles per hour. She was treated at several facilities until her placement in a South Shore nursing home where she passed.

Forklift Incident Kills Worker

June 1, WESTMINSTER, MD - 44 year old Ronald William Schlitzer, an employee for Random House Publishing, died when the forklift he was driving hit a shelving unit full of books in a warehouse. He was apparently moving pallets of books when the forklift hit the shelf unit causing it to fall. Schlitzer was pinned between the forklift and the shelf.

Work Vehicle Crash Kills One, Injures Others

June 1, BALTIMORE, MD - 26 year old Sheldon Mitchell Walker died when the Triumvirate Environmental truck he was driving crashed through a fence and into a tree. Two passengers suffered serious injuries. Walked was taken to a local hospital when he died of his injuries. No cause of the crash was given.

Trucker Killed in Rollover

June 1, RIVERSIDE, CA - 43 year old Craig Doane of Phoenix, AZ was killed when the tractor trailer he was driving overturned, spilling his load of strawberries. He was taken to a local hospital where he died.

Passenger in Tractor Trailer Dies in Wreck

June 1, BRANDON, MS - 53 year old Terry Renard Devine was killed while riding in an 18-wheeler that crashed. He suffered head and chest trauma and died after being taken to a local hospital. He was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. The driver has not been identified.

Assistant Fire Chief Dies After Returning From Call

May 31, FLANDERS, NJ - 42 year old Thomas Shields died after responding to a call at a local school. After returning to the station, he went home ill and was taken to a local hospital after complaining of chest pains. Shields was Flanders Assistant Fire Chief and his death is being called the first line-of-duty death for the Flanders fire company since 1927.

Cab Driver Shot to Death

May 31, MOUNT VERNON, IL - 75 year old Charles Ellis, an employee for American Cab, died of a single gunshot to his head by three suspects who have been arrested. He was found inside his vehicle at 6th and Bell streets in Mount Vernon, according to a report from the Jefferson County coroner's office. No details to events leading up to the shooting have been released.

Worker Injured in Explosion Dies of Injuries

May 31, GALLATIN, TN - Eric Hulsey of Orlindo, who was injured May 27 in a flash fire at the Hoeganaes Corp. plant in Gallatin has died. Two other workers were critically injured in the incident. Hoeganaes officials said it appears this fire was sparked by a gas leak. Two flash fires earlier this year (that killed two employees) were caused by a buildup of flammable metal dust.

Freak Accident Kills Golf Course Worker

May 31, WATERLOO, IL - Willie Werling died of blunt force trauma to the head when the lawn mower he was driving at the Annbriar Golf Course rolled on top of him. As a grounds keeper, he was mowing the grass Tuesday morning when somehow, while moving from one hole to the next, he veered off the cart path down a hill. The coroner says Werling had no pre-existing medical problems, and may never know what caused him to veer off the path and drive down the hill.

Worked Killed in Industrial Incident

May 31, JACKSON, TN - 46 year old Dan Baxter lost his life while working at Elemental Holdings LLC facility Tuesday. Tennessee OSHA is on site conducting an investigation and details as to manner and cause of Baxter's death have not been released. Elemental Holdings makes aluminum blanks and slugs for the impact extrusion business at its facility on Dr. F. E. Wright Drive. Mr. Baxter leaves behind his wife and eight children.

Police Investigating Death of Business Owner

May 30, ROSEVILLE, CA - 44 year old Christopher Northam Sr. was shot and killed inside the Skim-X extreme sports water park that he co-owned with his sons. Police responded to a call about shots fired during an argument and found Northam. Police are calling his death a homicide and an investigation is continuing.

Worker Dies After Falling From Back of Trash Collection Truck

May 30, SEATTLE, WA - 31 year old Justin Schmidt died after he slipped and fell from the back of a trash collection truck. Schmidt was hanging onto the back of the truck but as the driver rounded a corner, Schmidt slipped and fell off the truck. He leaves behind a 5 year old son.

Young Man Dies Buried in Grain Silo

May 30, STANDISH, MI - 18 year old Tom Osier, a junior in high school, died Monday while working in a grain silo at a dairy farm near Standish. Police say Osier was inside the silo, knocking some of the corn loose that had stuck to the sides of the silo. Another worker went looking for him and found Osier buried in the grain at an opening at the bottom, but because of the weight of the corn, could not get him out. Fire personnel arrived but were unable to pull Osier to safety.

Worker Fatally Electrocuted

May 29, LAWRENCEVILLE, PA - 25 year old Arianto Dejesus of Bronx, NY was accidentally electrocuted at the Hitachi Metals Automotive Components plant in Lawrence Township Sunday night. Dejesus was working on the platform of an accordion industrial lift sometime Sunday when he came in contact with a high-voltage electric line, and was electrocuted. He was a contracted worker hired to work on the lighting system.

Police Officer Struck While Investigating Accident

May 29, HOUSTON, TX - 38 year old Officer Kevin S. Will was was killed early Sunday when a man drove around a police barricade and struck the officer as he was investigating a traffic accident, investigators said. The suspect was being pursued by other officers when he went around the barricade and struck Officer Will. The driver has been arrested and charged on a variety of charges.

Experienced Bull Rider Trampled During Rodeo

May 29, NEW CASTLE, DE - 40 year old Leonel Trejo, an experienced bull rider from New Castle, was thrown from a bull at a rodeo Sunday. He was not wearing protective chest equipment and the bull came down on his chest. He was transported to a local hospital where he died of his injuries.

Diner Owner Found Dead, Homicide Suspected

May 28, ROXBURY, NJ - 71 year old Chafic "Steve" Ezzeddine was found dead inside his Kenvil Diner by his wife after he failed to return home after work. Police are investigating his death as a homicide.

Explosion at Compressor Station Kills One

May 28, RED RIVER PARISH, LA - 47 year old Michael Anthony Tartt of Choudrant was killed in an explosion at a natural gas site Saturday. Authorities continue to investigate the cause of the explosion, but say it happened inside a series of pipes. A large amount of pressure was released and caused the damage, but there was no fire. The operator, TGGT Holding, has its emergency response team working with investigators and other officials to determine exactly what went wrong.

Police Officer Shot and Killed in Ambush

May 28, SAN ANTONIO, TX - 45 year old Sgt. Kenneth Vann was fatally shot during an apparent ambush while waiting at a traffic light in his marked patrol vehicle early Saturday. Vann was waiting at an intersection just after 2AM Saturday when a small white vehicle pulled up next to him on the right side and started shooting through the front passenger window. Witnesses called police, who discovered Vann dead in the driver's seat. Police say it appears to be an ambush as the officer had no time to even react.

Cabbie Shot and Killed With Intent

May 27, METAIRIE, LA - 52 year old William "Billy" Kerner IV was shot and killed by a man who called for a cab, intending on not paying the fare according to police. After Kerner delivered the suspect to his destination, the suspect shot Kerner in the face. When Kerner got out of his cab and began running, the suspect ran after him shooting him in the back several times. The suspect has been found and charged with murder.

Passenger in Tractor Trailer Killed in Crash

May 27, FT. WORTH, TX - 54 year old James Kenneth Newman of Justin was killed when the semi truck he was riding in went off the roadway and overturned. The truck was traveling northbound on Highway 67 when the 18 wheeler hauling another large truck left the road to the east and struck a steep embankment. The vehicle overturned, coming to rest on the drivers’ side, blocking the northbound traffic lane. Newman was pronounced dead at the scene and the driver was taken to a nearby hospital.

Semi Driver Dies of Unknown Reason

May 27, COLUMBUS, IN - 56 year old John D. Hall of Lebanon, MO died in a semitrailer crash on Friday. The southbound truck Hall was driving crossed the highway median at Friday, and came to rest in a ditch on the northbound side of I-65. The cause of the accident is not yet known and the crash is under investigation.

Double Fatality in Tractor Trailer Crash

May 26, DONEGAL, PA - 48 year old Pamela L. Sheperd and 48 year old Frank Edward Sheperd of Rome, GA were killed when their semi crashed Thursday. Both were riding in a tractor-trailer that clipped another tractor-trailer and then slammed into two parked tractor-trailers at the entrance ramp to the Interstate 70 Welcome Center in Donegal Township. Their vehicle then burst into flames that consumed the cab, leaving rescuers unable to reach them.

Police and OSHA Investigating Worker's Death

May 24, MOUNT HOLLY, NC - 46 year old Andrew "Butch" Evans of Gastonia was killed on Tuesday afternoon in a machine-related incident. He was an employee for National Gypsum Plant. Evans exact cause of death has not been released, however, he worked on the wall board production line for over 2 years. Evans leaves behind a wife and young daughter.

Man Killed in Oil Well Incident

May 24, VELMA, OK - 47 year old Robert Joseph Pasillas died while working on a pump jack near Claud School, northeast of Velma. Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney said Pasillas, an employee for Basic Energy, was killed instantly when the pump jack he was working on began its press process. “He got trapped in the arms of the pump jack and it killed him instantly,” McKinney said.

Injured Worker Has Died of Injuries

May 23, FORT WAYNE, IN - 23 year old Michael Joseph Oberley II, who was injured in an industrial accident May 19 has died. Oberley was working as a machinist for AccuGear, an auto parts manufacturing plant. The cause or manner of his injuries have not been released but the parent company, America Axle & Manufacturing, said machinery was running when the incident happened.

Man Killed When Pinned in Equipment

May 22, NORTH EAST, MD - 41 year old Tuncay Tunc of St. Petersburg, FL was killed when he was crushed by industrial machinery he was hauling. Troopers say Tunc was hauling several pieces of machinery in a commercial truck when he heard a sound and pulled off the interstate to investigate. Tunc climbed onto the platform of a scissor lift and it started, rising and pinning him against the trailer's ceiling. The passenger of the truck called 911 when he saw what was happening.

Worker Dies a Hero While Helping Others Survive Tornado

May 22, JOPLIN, MO - 59 year old M."Dean" Wells was killed while trying to help Home Depot store customers and co-workers stay safe during a tornado. Witnesses said Wells guided co-workers and customers to the safest places inside the store, but was killed when a wall collapsed on top of him while searching about for others to help. Seven people died inside the store during the EF-5 tornado as it tore apart the store, but several others survived.

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