Monday, February 09, 2015

The Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

Our thoughts and healing wishes are with all the family members who have lost a loved one while working. If we can help you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us. We have been through a work related death and understand. Please visit for more information.

January 9, 2014 - Buffalo, WY - 26 year old Joshua Adams of Gillette died on the job from a partial rig collapse at Basic Energy Services oil derrick. He suffered blunt force trauma when he was pinned under several 'sucker' or drilling rods. Details were not given as to how the incident happened.

January 14 - Watford, ND - 37 year old Wes Herrmann suffered fatal burns at a QEP Resources oil well site explosion near Mandaree. He was the owner of a start-up roustabout company, Legendary Field Services, doing a fairly routine tube change on the heater-treater unit when a sudden ignition created an inferno of fire. He died at an area hospital. 

January 15 - Bismark, ND - An unidentified man was found dead on a catwalk of an oil well tank battery. He was gauging the tank setup at a Denbury Resources well site between Dickinson and Manning. Repeated attempts to locate his name have been unsuccessful.

January 15 - Farmington Hills, MI - 37 year old Greg Messenger of Temperance was severely injured on his arms, hands and face when he was trapped in the Jan. 8 fire inside a large storage tower at Piedmont Concrete in Farmington Hills. Six others who were injured in the fire have since recovered. Messenger died at the hospital on January 15.

January 15 - St. Louis, MO - 50 year old Scott Knopfel was an overnight manager for the Drury Inn Hotel when he was shot to death by an armed robber at the hotel. The suspect came up to the hotel doors, which were locked, but was allowed in by Knopfel. After entering the hotel lobby and engaging in conversation with Knopfel, the suspect showed a handgun and vaulted the counter. Knopfel and the suspect engaged in a struggle while the cash drawer was opening before shooting Knopfel in the head.

January 16 - Augusta, GA - 59 year old Ralph Avery Zorn of Barnwell, SC died on the job due to a fall.  He was standing on a scissor lift at Machuch Steel in Augusta when another piece of equipment reportedly struck the lift, causing him to fall approximately 20-30ft. He died later that day at an area hospital.

January 17 - Annapolis Junction, MD - An unidentified worker at Rock's State Park was killed when he was struck by falling jersey wall falling from above, possibly caused by moving equipment. He and several other workers were assisting in the effort to stabilize a portion of Route 24 in the park. He was an employee for Corman Construction who had the lead in the project. C.G Enterprises, Inc. is the parent company for Corman. Repeated attempts to local his name have been unsuccessful.

January 17 - Melbourne, FL - 36 year old Leonardo Coppola died a hero when he was shot to death by an employee's husband as he tried to shield her from harm. Police have confirmed that Coppola tried to move the woman out of the way when her husband turned up at the mall to confront her and also attempted to grab the gun away. The wife was shot but survived. Coppola was the owner of a pizzeria at the mall in Melbourne, name unknown.

January 17 - San Marcos, CA - 48 year old Jabar Issa of El Cajon was a tow truck driver who was helping fix a flat tire for a motorist when he was struck and killed by another motorist. The name of Issa's employer is unknown.

January 17 - Burbank, CA - 37 year old Greg Plitt, Jr., fitness model and Bravo reality star, was apparently shooting a fitness video on a train track as he had before, but this time he was struck and killed by a commuter train near the Burbank train station. Authorities are investigation how he and his crew got onto the restricted track or who gave them permission to shoot there.

January 17 - West Palm Beach, FL - 48 year old Hermino Padilla, Jr. was a plant supervisor for West Palm Beach Water Treatment Facility. He died on the job after he fell through a possible unsafe grate, through the system and into a sewage tank.

January 19 - Joliet, IL - 24 year old Mohammad Y. Eid was a store clerk for Gardner Food Mart when an armed gunman came into the store to rob it. He pulled out his own gun and a gunfight ensure and that is when he was shot. The gunman also died after being shot.

January 19 - Augusta, KY - 35 year old Brandon William Carl died on the job when the Hopple Street overpass bridge suffered a "catastrophic pancake" collapse during demolition. He was working from an excavator under the overpass when it collapsed and he was crushed. He was employed by Kokosing Construction working for the Ohio Department of Transportation.

January 20 - Center Point, AL - 20 year old Chance Richard Rolland was killed on the job when he was struck by a motorist during road construction while directing traffic. He was employed by T.E. Stevens Construction.

January 20 - Boston, MA - 44 year old Dr. Michael Davidson of Wellesly died on the job when he was confronted by a gunman who shot him while working at Brigham and Woman's Hospital. The gunman was reported the son of a patient of Dr. Davidson's when she died.

January 20 - Rock's State Park, MD - An unidentified worker was killed when he was struck by debris from a falling jersey wall. He and another worker went into the base of a ravine to retrieve some equipment. A lane separator, known as a jersey wall collapsed and fell on top of him. Repeated attempts to locate his name and employer have been unsuccessful.

January 21 - Upper West Side, NY - 61 year old Frank Dragotta of Morganville, NJ died on the job when he fell down an elevator shaft as he working in a building in Manhattan, NY. It is unknown who he was employed by.

January 21 - Cumming, GA - 27 year old Brian Johnson was killed on the job when he was struck by a falling tree while working with a crew that was clearing trees for new power lines. He was an employee for Shawnee Electric Corporation (EMC).

January 21 - Bunker, MO - John Hoodenpyle, Sr. was a miner working at the Fletcher Mine when he was fatally struck by falling rock. He was checking for and removing loose rock from the Doe Run Company’s mine. According to the company, the employee's equipment cab was hit by loose material, which fatally injured him.

January 21 - Everett, WA - Kenneth Staberow was at work for Boeing Company when he collapsed and died of a non work related medical event.

January 22 - Carrollton, GA - 45 year old Charles Pollard of Ranburne, AL was shoveling mud and gravel from a roadway in Georgia when he was struck by a motorist in the road. According to his obituary he was working for McIntyre Lumber Company as an equipment operator.

January 23 - Middletown, CT - 40 year old Jason Strycharz of Portland died on the job after he was struck by a piece of steel that was swinging from a crane inside a warehouse. He was an employee for Kloeckner Metals factory in Middletown.

January 23 - Ticonderoga, NY - 57 year old Jorg Borowski of Schroon Lake died at a local hospital from burns he received earlier in the day at International Paper's Ticonderoga paper mill. Borowski was on the maintenance crew at the mill and was injured in mill’s Power House, which burns fuel oil and bark to generate electricity for the plant’s two paper machines.

January 23 - Phoenix, AZ - 21 year old Grant Ronnebeck was well liked by his co-workers and loved by family and friends.  Many of them are still in shock over his murder. He was working at the Quik Trip when an armed robbery suspect walked in and shot him over a pack of cigarettes. 

January 25 - Manhattan, NY - 38 year old Moctar Sy was the manager of a Home Depot store in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. A disgruntled ex-employee who had been fired went into the store and was speaking to another employee when he saw his old boss. He then pulled a gun and shot Sy to death before turning the gun on himself.

January 25 - Brooklyn, NY - 49 year old Rafael Pujols was shot to death during a robbery when he refused to hand over money to the alleged suspect. After shooting Pujols, the suspect fled the Las Vegas Deli & Grocery store without money or property. 

January 28 - Aberdeen, MD - 33 year old Eric Jones of Forest Hill was operating a forklift at Northeastern Supply Distribution Center when another forklift "bumped" into his and he was knocked off. He fell backward approximately 20 feet to the floor.

January 28 - North Charleston, SC - 54 year old David Swain was found unresponsive on the stage of the North Charleston Performing Arts Center next to the basket of a toppled lift. He fell approximately 30 feet to the stage floor. He was the Technical Director and an employee of SMG, the company hired to manage operations at the PAC.

January 28 - Midland, TX - 26 year old Fabian Garduno Martinez died and a co-worker injured when they were knocked off a scissor lift. The two men were demolishing a brick wall with sledge hammers while standing on a scissor lift. The brick wall then collapsed, causing the lift to fall. Garduno-Martinez fell out of the lift and hit his head on the ground. The company the men were working for is unknown.

January 29 - Farmington, CT - 65 year old Neil Hynick of Schofield, WI was a truck driver delivering bundles of aluminum to Stanley Access Technologies when a load of steel and aluminum fell on him. A spokesman for Stanley Black & Decker, which owns Stanley Access Technologies, said Hynick was a third-party contractor but did not name the company he worked for.

January 30 - Chicago, IL - 45 year old Joel Ogiego of Portage, IN died on the job after he was crushed in a construction incident. Ogiego was about 60 feet above ground working inside a crane during the construction of a high-rise residential building. He was leaning into a shaft where a cage, or "elevator," was descending, and pinned him against the crane. The name of the construction company he was working for is unknown.

January 31 - Shawnee, OK - Trooper Nicholas Dees and another Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper were were responding to a semi truck that had tipped over the median. While they were investigating the incident, the two were hit by another vehicle. The car that struck the officers passed a blocked area instead of staying the lane where traffic was being diverted, going around the police vehicle.

and another worker went into the base of a ravine at the site to retrieve some equipment around 1:30 p.m. Friday when a lane separator—also known as a jersey wall or jersey barrier—fell on top of him and killed him. - See more at:
and another worker went into the base of a ravine at the site to retrieve some equipment around 1:30 p.m. Friday when a lane separator—also known as a jersey wall or jersey barrier—fell on top of him and killed him. - See more at:

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