Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

We strive to honor and remember those workers who have been lost to a workplace incident and their family's as they navigate the many challenges they face. If you would like to connect with like-minded people, who have been in your shoes, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Man Dies of Natural Causes

September 1, 2015 - Snohamish, WA - 75 year old Russell A. Groth was working at the family's business, Wintergreen Tree Farm, when he was found unresponsive after his shift ended by a family member. He had died of a natural cardiac event.

Worker Drowns

September 1, 2015 - Bellevue, WA - 51 year old Phillip Cruz was working alone when his co-workers lost track of him for about 10 minutes. When they found him, he was face down in the bottom of a water filled excavation pit. He was an employee for Bayley Construction.

Officer Dies of Gunshot Wound

September 1, 2015 - Fox Lake, IL - 52 year old Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz had planned to retire from the Fox Lake Police Department in late August, but was asked to stay on another month. While on duty, three men caught his eye and he radioed that he was on foot pursuit. Three minutes later he requested back up but then communication went silent. When back up arrived, they found Lt. Gliniewicz dead from a devastating gunshot wound to the chest. An ongoing investigation is under way by authorities.

Marine Died During Training

September 2, 2015 - Camp Legeune, NC - 31 year old Staff Sgt. Jonathan Lewis, of Fauquier, VA, was a Marine and part of the Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) Company B Marine Corps Security Force Regiment. He died in a hard landing of the Super Stallion Helicopter “while conducting Helicopter Rope Suspension Techniques (HRST) training in a landing zone at Stone Bay,” near Camp Leguene, NC.

Wall Collapse Causes Worker's Death

September 3, 2015 - Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - 19 year old Fernando Venegas of Corona, Queens was at work at a construction site in Bed-Stuy when something went very wrong. Venegas was killed, and two other workers injured, when an unstable wall at the construction site collapsed. It is unclear who he was employed with.

Contract Worker Struck by Train

September 4, 2015 - Auburn, IN - An unidentified contractor for CSX was struck by a freight train that he did not see coming because it was blocked from view by a standing train. He was in the company of two CSX employees and did not know the other train was approaching, stepped around the standing train and in front of the moving train. Authorities would only say the victim was from Newfoundland in far eastern Canada and was working as part of an electronic rail testing crew.

Woman Dies of Natural Causes

September 4, 2015 - Pascagoula, MS - 53 year old Evelyn Richardson of Moss Point, an employee for Ingalls Shipbuilding, was found dead in her office. Her death was ruled natural causes.

Construction Worker Killed in Fall

September 4, 2015 - Taunton, MA - 24 year old Nicholas Dumont of Pawtucket, RI was working on the construction of a distributing warehouse and corporate facility when he died after falling approximately 40 feet at the site in Taunton. His obituary states that he was employed by MAS Building & Bridge, Inc.

Refinery Worker Drowns

September 5, 2015 - Port Arthur, TX - 66 year old Thomas Courts of Denton was operating a bulldozer inside the Total Port Arthur refinery when the dozer went into a pit filled with a high temperature chemical liquid. A coworker say the incident take place and immediately used his machine to pull the bull dozer from the pit. Courts died of exposure and drowning. He was a Kinder Morgan employee.

Heart Condition Causes Death

September 9, 2015 - Tacoma, WA - Marcus Michelsen was an employee of the payroll office at Pacific Lutheran University when he suffered a medical event while on break. He was taken to an area hospital when he died during surgery.

Power Company Worker Found Dead

September 10, 2015 - Kermit, TX - 49 year old Mark Ochoa was an employee for Oncor, a power company, when he died on the job. He was sent out on a power outage call and when he did not check in or respond to calls, another worker was sent to check on him. That worker found Ochoa unresponsive and pronounced by EMS. His exact cause of death is unknown.

Film Crew Member Dies in Crash

September 11, 2015 - San Francisco de Antioquia, Columbia - 54 year old David Purwin of the Los Angeles, CA area was a stunt pilot in Columbia to help with the filming of a new high action Hollywood film when the unthinkable happened. A small plane being used to transport crew members crashed on take off from a local airport. Another pilot from Columbia also died in the crash and another from Georgia was injured. It is unclear who was piloting the plane at the time of the crash.  Purwin was known for his work staging heart-stopping chases for the movies and also flew life saving missions for critically ill children. He was the founder and president of Helinet Technologies.

Worker Dies After Fall

September, 12, 2015 - Stauton, VA - 22 year old Dustin Hamilton Killen of Florence, AL was working on overhead wires in Augusta County when one sprung back and shredded the bucket off his truck, he then fell 83 feet to the ground. He also may have been electrocuted according to authorities. He was a Journeyman Lineman for Irby Construction.

Equipment Malfunction Causes Death, Injury

September 12, 2015 - Tulsa, OK - 43 year old Steve Shelton wasn't afraid of heights and loved working in the air. He worked in the amusement park industry for many years. Shelton and a coworker were in the air inspecting the SkyRide gondola ride at the Tulsa Fair when the bucket they were working from broke loose and fell. Both men were harnessed but Shelton suffered a life threatening head injury. The men worked for DCM Tulsa LLC, the operator of the SkyRide.

Man Dies From Fall

September 14, 2015 - Hyde Park, IL - An unidentified 38 year old man died as a result of falling from the top of a building under construction. Because most of the day's work was being done on the opposite end of the building, authorities said it was not clear if his death as an accident or suicide. It is unclear who he was employed with.

University Professor Murdered on Campus

September 14, 2015 - Cleveland, MS - 39 year old Ethan Andrew Schmidt was a history professor at Delta State University was shot in his office by a colleague at the school. It is unclear why the instructor murdered Schmidt, but it was also discovered he murdered his girlfriend earlier. After the murders, the man later committed suicide rather than be arrested.

Officer Dies Nearly a Year After Shooting

September 14, 2015 - McHenry, IL - 47 year old Dwight Maness, a McHenry Sheriff Deputy, was responding to a domestic dispute call last October 16, 2014 when a man opened fire, hitting the deputy several places. He had multiple surgeries and was feeling good about his recovery when he died during a rehabilitation session. The exact cause of his death is not known.

Road Side Worker Struck by Motorist

September 14, 2015 - Escondido, CA - 21 year old Leonardo "Leo" Sandoval of Murrieta was repairing sprinklers on the roadside when he was struck by a suspected drunk motorist. He worked for Pacific Restoration Group which had recently been contracted by Caltrans to landscape portions of the I-15 freeway. 

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