Friday, June 10, 2011

Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

Incident at Mine Claims Man's Life

June 9, SOMERSET, CO - an unidentified 53 year old man, contracted to work at the West Elk Mine near Somerset, has died after falling from a catwalk. As he fell, he struck an I-beam on the ground about 8 feet below. He was transported to a local hospital where he died a short time later. UPDATE: Authorities have identified the man killed as Fred Benally of Farmington, NM.

Roofer Falls to His Death

June 9, RICHMOND, CA - 41 year old Castanon Mauricio, a contractor performing roofing work fell to his death Thursday. A coroner's deputy said Mauricio fell 30 feet onto his back from a house on Western Drive. Co-workers on the roof did not see him fall, and noticed only when they began searching for him after they did not see him among the group of roofers. He was conscious when he was transported to the hospital but died soon after arriving.

Tractor Trailer Driver Killed in Crash

June 9, HUDSON, IL - 38 year old Johnathan R. Stern of Rock Falls died Thursday morning after he crashed his semi tractor trailer into the rear of another semi on I-39. The trucks collided near mile marker 2 in rural Hudson after the other driver tried to merge back into traffic from the shoulder. He had reportedly stopped to read a map. Stern died on the scene.

Truck Driver Dies in Collision With Train

June 9, HOPE, AR - 57 year old Samuel McCullough of Nashville was killed when he drove the truck into a train in an industrial park near Hope. A report on the accident says McCullough was westbound when he drove his Mack truck into the side of the lead train engine. McCullough died about two hours later at a Hope hospital.

Young Worker Dies Buried in Grain

June 9, KINDRED, ND - an unidentified 22 year old young man died after being buried under tons of corn grain today. According to co-workers, he was using a tractor to move the corn but at some point they found his tractor running but he was not in it. Crews say they had difficultly finding the man after he became stuck under tons of corn and in a hole at the storage building. UPDATE: Authorities have identified the young man who died as Franklin Samuel "Sam" Scott. A young life lost too soon.

Man Dies as Truck Rolls Off Levee

June 9, OMAHA, NE - 58 year old James McGauley, hometown unknown, died while working to construct a levee when his truck rolled over. McGauley's co-workers desperately tried to save him but he was underwater for too long. He was taken by medical helicopter to an Omaha hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was employed by Martin Marietta Materials.

Incident at Waste Facility Kills Worker

June 8, EAST DONEGAL, PA - 48 year old Antonio Valentin Jr. of Marietta was killed when he was trapped under a vehicle he was working on. Another worker discovered Valentin, a mechanic, trapped beneath a vehicle he was working on in a garage there, police said. As a result of his injuries, Valentin died at the scene.

Cab Driver and Passenger Die in Crash

June 8, ORLANDO, FL - 39 year old Fleurinat Estephine, a cab driver, and his passenger were killed after a dump truck slammed into his vehicle on the BeachLine Expressway. An investigation by FHP is underway.

Domestic Dispute Suspect Shoots Deputy

June 8, UTICA, NY - 24 year old Deputy Kurt Wyman died in Utica hospital after being shot once inside a garage in the rural hamlet of Knoxboro, police said. He had been trying to arrest a man whose girlfriend had earlier called 911 in a panic after he threatened to kill her and himself. The girlfriend fled to a neighbor's home and was unhurt but the gunman stayed and battled with Wyman and other deputies who arrived for back up. The deputy's wife went into labor after hearing her husband had been killed and delivered their baby girl hours later. They also have an 18 mo old son.

Semi Driver Dies in Crash With Construction Truck

June 8, STATESVILLE, NC - 65 year old Ronnie Clayton Greer of Valdese died after his semi crashed into the read of a construction truck. According to the N.C. State Highway Patrol, flashing lights and signs had been posted to warn motorists of construction crews ahead, but Greer’s truck, traveling westbound, slammed into the back of a crash barrier truck designed to protect workers.

Farmer Dies When Tractor Runs Off Road and Overturns

June 8, JEFFERSONVILLE, OH - 52 year old Joel E. Eltzroth died when his tractor went off the roadway and flipped. Deputies say Eltzroth was driving a commercial fertilizer spreader westbound on S.R. 56 when the tractor went off the right side of the road and flipped, throwing Eltzroth from the vehicle.

Trash Truck Driver Dies in Rear-End Collision

June 8, HIGHLAND, IL - 36 year old Chad M. True of Irvington died Wednesday when the vehicle he was driving rear-ended a dump truck near Highland. According to police, the dump truck was waiting to make a turn when the truck True was driving slammed into the back of it. True's truck continued eastbound, overturned and caught fire. He was unable to escape the truck. True's passenger was thrown from the truck.

Truck Driver Killed in Crash

June 8, FAIRFIELD, IL - 24 year old Casey G. Massengill of Middlesboro, KY was killed Wednesday morning when his truck overturned on U.S. 45 south of Fairfield at the New Hope curve. The overturned semi was then hit by a garbage truck. The crash is under investigation.

Highway Worker Struck and Killed

June 8, COVINGTON, IN - 28 year old Jeremy Bagwell, an employee of Milestone Contractors, was struck and killed by a driver while working along Indiana 63 in Warren County. Bagwell was painting temporary stripes along the roadway when for some reason the driver of an SUV swerved over, struck a cone and then Bagwell. An investigation continues.

Two Insurance Fraud Investigators Killed by Agent

June 7, VILLE PLATTE, LA - Kim Sledge and Rhett Jeansonne, two fraud investigators for Louisiana Department of Insurance, were shot and killed while trying to collect case information from an insurance agent in Ville Platte. The agent being investigated had been charged with failing to send insurance premiums collected from customers to the insurance companies. After killed Sledge and Jeansonne, the agent turned the gun on himself.

Tow Truck Driver Found Shot to Death

June 7, OXON HILL, MD - Anton Agurs, of District Heights, was found shot to death beside his truck Tuesday night. Agurs owned his own tow company, Sanctified Towing, and responded to a call out about 10PM. The family says the truck's lights were still flashing. Police say they got a call about a man unconscious in the road. No one seems to know why he was there or if he ever made it to his tow call.

Truck Driver Dies After Possible Medical Event

June 7, MORAINE, OH - 53 year old Larry Moreland of Dayton died after his tractor-trailer slammed into two trees on Dryden Road Tuesday. Moreland was a driver for Mad River Transportation on a run at the time of the accident. Authorities are "pretty certain he had a medical event" that precipitated the crash.

Worker Stabbed in Neck Dies

June 7, GARDEN CITY, KS - 30 year old Cesar Muniz died after he was stabbed in the neck by a co-worker at the Tyson Fresh Meats plant. A preliminary investigation found that Muniz and a 34-year-old man who were working in the same area of the plant somehow bumped heads while working. The other man had a knife in his hand and Muniz was stabbed.

Two Men Die After Being Trapped in Manhole

June 7, DURHAM, NC - 34 year old Luis Casteneda Gomez of Durham and 32 year old Jesus Martinez Benitez of Clayton died of suffocation after being trapped in a manhole 12 feet below the ground. The men worked for Triangle Grading & Paving of Burlington. Sheriff's officials say co-workers of the men called 911 after realizing the men were trapped, but the two were dead by the time emergency workers arrived. The bodies were recovered about three hours later.

Man Dies in Corn Engulfment

June 7, OCHEYEDAN, IA - 37 year old Corey Wingate has died after being engulfed in a corn storage unit at the Cooperative Elevator Association in Ocheyedan according to a sheriff's spokesman. Wingate was transported to the Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley where he was pronounced dead.

Truck Hits and Kills Warehouse Worker

June 7, HICKORY, NC - 49 year old Jerry Whitman of Granite Falls was killed when a truck backing up at a warehouse hit him. A Pepsi tractor trailer was backing up to a loading dock at Institution Food House, a food supplier, when it hit Whitman. The incident is under investigation.

Sanitation Worker Killed When Hit Along Roadway

June 7, BLOOMING GROVE, NY - 24 year old Jon Walsh of Chester was struck and killed by a federal government vehicle while picking up recyclable material along a Hudson Valley road. Police believe he didn't see the vehicle before crossing into an opposite lane. Walsh worked for Ramsey, NJ based Interstate Waster Services.

Caltrans Worker Hit & Killed on Roadway

June 7, IMPERIAL, CA - 53 year old Jaime Obeso, a Caltrans maintenance worker, was struck by a vehicle while working along eastbound Interstate 8 near the Sunbeam Rest Area in Imperial County, six miles west of El Centro. He died at the scene. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Sheriff Deputy Dies of Gunshot Wound

June 7, NASHVILLE, TN - Deputy Richard "Keith" Beller died Tuesday at a Nashville hospital a day after he was shot by a man who then fatally shot himself. The man who shot Beller had run his estranged wife’s car off a road and Bellar stopped to assist with what appeared to be a traffic accident. Police said the man shot Bellar, then killed himself.

Man Killed in Industrial Accident

June 7, MILWAUKEE, WI - 23 year old Benjamin H. Alcorn, a crane operator for Acme Galvanizing, was killed in an industrial accident Tuesday. Alcorn was crushed just under a 6,000-pound steel bar that had not been securely attached to an overhead crane's pulley hook. Operators are supposed to stand outside a designated area. Alcorn did not, the report said. At least 3 government agencies are investigating.

Unidentified Worker Dies in Fall

June 7, WHITTIER, CA - a 53 year old man has died after falling through a skylight. The man, who worked for Southern California Valve Co. was apparently working of the roof of the building when he fell about 30 feet through a skylight. He suffered major head injuries. The cause of the fall is under investigation. UPDATE: Authorities have identified the worker killed as Perry Wayne Isham of Bellflower.

Driver Dies of Burns After Fuel Tank Explodes
June 6, ARCADIA, PA - 66 year old Darrell Bowser of Mahaffey died Monday after a worksite fuel explosion left him seriously burned. Bowser was using a handheld grinder to repair a bulldozer at a work site when the vehicle's fuel tank exploded. The blast was powerful enough to destroy both the bulldozer and his truck that was parked nearby. He was airlifted to a burn unit where he died of his burns.

Tractor Trailer Driver Killed in Crash

June 6, OSSEO, WI - 63 year old Steven W. Crawford of Mondovi died after he attempted to drive his 1999 Freightliner tractor around the right side of another semi-rig, traveling at a slow speed in the right lane due to a flat tire. Crawford's truck struck the rear of the other trailer, burst into flames and jack-knifed across both eastbound lanes. He died at the scene.

Surface Mine Worker Killed in Truck Rollover

June 6, NORTON, VA - 71 year old Lacy E. Trent, a coal truck driver for Presley Trucking, died when he was pinned inside a dump truck. The accident occurred Monday on a haul road at Humphreys Enterprises' No. 5 Strip surface mine in Wise County. MSHA says the truck overturned after hitting a safety berm while descending a steep slope.

Worker Dies of Injuries Received in Fall

June 5, CHARLOTTE, NC - Marvin Near, who was injured at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, has died. Near, a contracted employee for Huggins Tire Sales, fell from the back of a slow-moving pick-up truck driven by a Huggins employee while delivering Goodyear racing tires for the weekend's events at CMS.

Second Injured Firefighter Dies

June 4, SAN FRANCISCO, CA - 53 year old Anthony "Tony" Valerio, injured in a blaze that killed Lt. Vincent Perez June 2, has died. The two firefighters were caught in a flash fire caused by superheated gases while battling a blaze at a home on Berkeley Way. Valerio had waged a minute by minute battle to survive, but lost his battle Saturday morning.

Gold Mine Worker Falls to His Death

June 4, FAIRBANKS, AK - 39 year old Michael J. Murray, a mill operator for Fort Knox Gold Mine, fell to his death at the mine Saturday evening. Murray was cleaning the second floor of a crusher room by himself when he tripped and fell 80 feet through a hole in the floor, according to troopers. Murray was supposed to be wearing a harness but according to a trooper spokeswoman, he was not.

Man Dies in Accident With Farm Tractor

June 4, GRACEMONT, OK - 72 year old Leon G. Griffitts has died in an accident involving a tractor in rural Caddo County. Troopers says Griffitts was standing next to a 1940s model John Deere tractor, attempting to crank start it, but he didn't realize the tractor was in gear and it began backing up, out of control. As he tried to disengage the clutch his clothing got entangled in the tractor and he was dragged for an unknown distance. He died at the scene.

Restaurant Worker Shot to Death in Robbery

June 3, COLUMBIA, SC - 35 year old Steven Fowler of Irmo was found shot to death during a robbery Friday. Fowler was closing up the Papa John's restaurant he worked at when police received a report of shots fired. Police found Fowler shot in the chest inside his car.

Veteran Police Sgt. Dies on Duty

June 3, HAMMOND, IL - 51 year old Sgt. James B. Medwetz died Friday morning after he experienced chest pains while on duty at the jail. He was transported to St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare Center in Hammond where he died. Medwetz worked as a Hammond police officer for 29 years, serving in the patrol section, criminal investigation division, support services division, and as a Hammond City Court security officer.

Construction Worker Dies Due to Fall

June 3, AUBURN, ME - 51 year old John Ledue of Portland died Friday when he fell while working on masonry at the former Webster School. Ledue fell about 10 feet at 2 p.m. Friday, hitting his head during the fall. Witnesses said when he fell, he was jackhammering to remove bricks. Ledue was employed by Hascall & Hall of Portland.

Police Officer Dies of Lightning Strike Injuries
June 3, JOPLIN, MO - 31 year old Jefferson "Jeff" Taylor of Riverside died Friday from injuries he received in a lightning strike on May 23. Taylor was part of Riverside’s 12-member contingent of police officers, firefighters and public works staff members who responded to the Joplin tornado disaster. On the evening after the tornado, as a new line of storms moved through the Joplin area, Taylor had just returned to a command post when lightning struck the ground near where he was working.

Highway Worker Struck and Killed

June 2, PINE BLUFF, AR - 64 year old Anderson Williams of McGehee died after being struck by a street sweeper. Williams, an employee for AR Highway & Transportation Dept., was with a department crew working along Camden Road when he was somehow struck by the street sweeper.

Farm Owner Suffers Fatal Crush Injuries

June 1, BOONVILLE, MO - 66 year old Jack. W. Roth died Wednesday after he was crushed under a semi tractor-trailer that he was working on. A sheriff's spokesman said whatever Roth used to prop up the rear tractor wheels could not support the weight and it fell, trapping him underneath. Roth was a cattle and crop farmer, as well as owner of several tractor-trailer rigs.

Sanitation Worker Found Dead on Job

May 31, AVONDALE ESTATES, GA - 41 year old Kurt Krueger of Decatur died Tuesday after collapsing on the job. While the exact cause or manner of death have not been released, reports state he collapsed while picking up trash on his route.

MARC Conductor Dies of Massive Heart Attack

May 3, WASHINGTON, DC - 57 year old Eric Lee Wolf of Arbutus, MD, a colorful and lighthearted MARC conductor who was an institution on Camden Line trains where he entertained passengers with various jokes and windup toys, died May 3 of a massive heart attack at Washington's Union Station. "Eric was in the process of opening the doors up when he was stricken," said David Johnson, who is chief customer communications officer for MARC. "He died on the platform."

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