Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

This post highlights workers who died on the job in December 2014.  Our thoughts are with the families as we know this time of year is particularly difficult.

December 16, 2014 - Hoquiam, WA - 56 year old David James Dupont of Tahuya was killed on the job when he was struck by the top of a tree that was felled. He was the owner of Double D Logging Co., Inc.  Details of the incident are not available.

December 16 - Sturgis, KY - 34 year old Eli Eldridge died on the job after he was struck by a vehicle shuttling coal to the feeder of an underground belt line at Patriot Coal's Highland No. 9 mine.

December 16 - West Monroe, LA - 30 year old Michael Roberts was killed on the job when he was struck by a motorist. A construction pickup that was equipped with a large arrow board was stopped in the north bound outside highway lane. A motorist was traveling in the outside lane and attempted to move into the inside lane but struck the rear of the construction vehicle and three construction workers. It is unclear who he was employed with.

December 19 - Lynnville, IN - R.V. "Rocky" Schmidt died of suffocation after being buried in grain. Authorities say that Schmidt was likely shoveling grain when apparently it gave way. He did have a safety rope on him at the time. Schmidt owned the farm.

December 19 - Coalgate, OK - 26 year old Gary Keehan of Ada and 27 year old Kelsey Bellah of Tulsa were working on an oil rig near Coalgate when a fire broke out causing an explosion, causing their death. A third worker was critically injured. They were employees for Dan D Drilling for Pablo Energy.  

December 20 - New York City, NY - 40 year old Rafael Ramos and 32 year old Wenjian Liu, both officers for the New York Police Department were shot to death during an ambush as they sat in their police cruiser. The gunman was known to have made anti-police statements.

December 20 - Lynden, WA - Rueben Zimmermann was performing his regular duties, bagging customer's groceries at Safeway Store #1930, when he reported not feeling well.  While resting he slumped over and it was determined he died of a heart attack.

December 21 - Snoqualmie Pass, WA - Robert Benson was a long haul truck driver from Colorado who was on a "run" and suffered a heart attack, crashing the truck on Interstate 90 near Snoqualmie Pass.

December 23 - Everett, WA - Michael Petro was an engineer for The Boeing Company and was performing normal office related duties. He was found unresponsive on the floor of a restroom and paramedics were unable to revive him. He died of natural causes.

December 23 - Woodmere, NY - 43 year old Joseph Sanford, Jr. was a member of Inwood (Long Island) Fire Department when he died four days after battling a house fire in where he fell through the floor into the basement and suffered a heart attack. Officials said Sanford was one of the first on the scene after the initial 911 call. It is unclear if other firefighters even knew he was inside, as his lifeless body was found accidentally by other firefighters making their way through the house.

December 24 - Orlando, FL - 52 year old Robert Belvoir died on the job after falling 30 feet after a harness apparently slipped at an elevated ropes course.  He had just gotten hooked up to the Sky Trail ropes course but a piece of the equipment was not properly secured and he fell, while still wearing the harness. He was employed by Jim Liggitt dba Sky Trails attraction.

December 26 - Las Vegas, NV - 58 year old Antonino Isnit was working his regular shift for Walgreen's when an armed man entered the store to rob it. The gunman took Isnit and a coworker to the part of the store with the safe and it was there that he was shot. It turns out, the gunman had previously worked with Isnit and he may have recognized the robber.  

December 26 - Wilmington, DE - 42 year old Jose Luis Garcia Hernandez of Newark, was killed on the job when he was struck by a crawler tractor. He was standing behind the large machine that was driven by a co-worker to move trash into a large pile. It was then that Hernandez was struck by the machine. He was employed by Cherry Island Landfill in Wilmington. 

December 28 - West Palm Beach, FL - Robert Hoffstetter was a corner marshal for the Palm Beach International Raceway when he was struck by an unmanned motorcycle at the Florida Track Days event. A motorcyclist said that during the race, his bike’s throttle got stuck in the open position, preventing him from being able to stop as he approached a turn in the track. He tried to apply the brakes but couldn’t stop so he jumped off the motorcycle into a grass area. The motorcycle continued down the track and struck Hoffstetter.

December 29 - Wenachee, WA - 34 year old Andrea Carlos Johnson was killed on the job when he was struck by a piece of equipment. He was a mechanic for Stemilt Growers LLC and was changing a hydraulic cylinder on a bin destacker. When he disconnected the hydraulic line, the 600 plus pound destacking mechanism came down on top of his upper body, crushing him.

December 29 - Vienna, VA - 45 year old Hicham "AJ" Najdi was killed instantly after being struck by a motorist along an Interstate. He was a tow truck driver for Fairfax Towing and was prepping a disabled vehicle on to his tow truck. The driver of an on-coming box truck crossed into the shoulder where Najdi was working, hitting him.

December 29 - Staten Island, NY - 62 year old Thomas Choi was struck by a motorist on the Verrazano Bridge in October of 2013. The MTA Bridges and Tunnels employee was struck by a car as he worked to reopen the Brooklyn-bound, lower-level roadway of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on Oct. 20. He never emerged from a coma.

December 30 - Avalon, CA - 39 year old Timothy Mitchell was a Harbor Patrol Officer on Santa Catalina Island when strong winds and rough waves began to batter boats in the harbor. He is being called a hero for attempting to save a boat from damage. During the night storm, Mitchell was aboard the King Neptune as it was about to run aground at Avalon Harbor. He tried to jump ashore but didn't make it. Two other officers tried to rescue him, but Mitchell became pinned between the boat and the harbor rocks and was killed.

December 30 - Claycomo, MO - An unidentified employed for KCI, Inc. was killed on the job as he worked on renovations to the Ford Kansas City Assembly plant. He was a millwright who worked on machinery and was crushed while working on the job.

December 30 - Sedro Woolley, WA - Richard Rector of Buckley died on the job after being struck by his logging truck. He reported having trouble with the truck's brakes and stopped the loaded log truck on a hill to fix the problem. It is not clear why but the truck started moving down the hill and he was struck by it. He was employed by Tony Van Hoof Trucking LLC. 

December 31 - Grand Terrace, CA - 48 year old Richard Williamson of Riverside was the owner of Bill Will's Security Services and was working a New Year's Eve party when he was shot to death.  He died confronting a gunman firing at a crowd outside the Cal Skate, Southern California roller rink. Two other security guards were injured. Williamson's actions saved many kids and family's lives that night.

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2015/01/02/4311319_3-shot-1-killed-at-roller-rink.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

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