Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Weekly Toll

Note: In order to compile this list every two weeks, I have some fairly extensive searches set up on Google News Alerts. Yet sometimes it amazes me how many I miss and why they aren't picked up. For example, I just received the latest version of the Workers Memoral Day edition of PACEsetter, the monthly magazine of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE), which contained the biographies of five workers killed on the job over the past year. I had identified only one of the workers listed, Gary Hueneka. Is it because Google didn't pick them up or because they didn't even raise enough concern to appear in the local newspaper?

PACE Members Killed On The Job

Edward Sullivan, Pace Local 6-628, Tower Automotive, Elkton, MI, was killed September 2003 while working among some rolls of steel at the tower Automotive plant in Elkton, MI. Sullivan, 47, was crushed by some falling rods of steel.

Walter Kincey, PACE Local 3-1865, GP, Cedar Springs, GA, was killed when he fell into the beater pit at the Georgia Pacific Cedar Springs mill in August 2003.

Timothy Crank, member of Pace Local 5-857 at Conoco Phillips in Ponca City, OK, was severly burned when the gasoline processing unit exploded in July 2003. Crank, 39, was an operator at the facility's West Plant, which was undergoing some maintenance at the time of the incident. He was flown to a hosptial in Oklahoma City, where he died 10 days later.

Jordan Tripp Jr, member of PACE Local 5-1731, at International Paper Co. in Pine Bluff, AR, died July 5, 2003, when he became caught between the rollers of the extruder at the mill. He suffered severe head injuries which resulted in his death.

Police Officer Killed

Merced, CA -- Police spent Friday searching for the suspect who shot and killed a Merced police officer. The shooting happened Thursday night near Glen and 21st in southeast Merced.

Merced Police Commander Norm Andrade says officer Stephan Gray was shot while conducting a traffic stop on the 1900 block of Glen Ave. He was taken to Mercy Community Campus Hospital, where he died.

Worker dies in fall from bridge

He wasn't hooked to safety line, cop says

New Orleans -- In what turned out to be a tragically ironic comment, Lester Irula spent part of Thursday telling his boss how concerned he was about staying safe working high above the Mississippi River.

On Friday morning his worries turned into reality as Irula, part of the crew repainting the West Bank-bound span of the Crescent City Connection, fell 150 feet to his death from the bridge into the river.

Ninth worker dies in I-95 van crash

Fort Pierce, FL -- A grove worker who has been comatose since an April 1 rollover crash on Interstate 95 died early Friday, the ninth man to die from the crash.

His death comes a day after the Highway Patrol released an initial report citing careless driving as a contributing factor in the accident that killed eight other men and injured 10 more.

Crecenciano Escalanate, 35, had been on life support at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne since the accident.

Driver hits, kills Luzerne highway worker on I-84

Scranton, PA -- A Luzerne County man described by his boss as "a man who never had a bad word for anybody," was killed Thursday morning while working as a highway flag man on a Pike County highway.

Louis Kotch, 53, of 6 Columbus Circle in Mocanaqua, was part of a three-person survey crew for American Asphalt working on Interstate 84 when an elderly driver hit him with her vehicle just after 10 a.m.

Maybert Crane, 85, of 207 Pennsylvania Ave. in Matamoras, drove her car into the work zone and hit Mr. Kotch head-on, according to state police.

Falling limb strikes, kills Carroll County roads worker

Baltimore, MD -- A Carroll County roads operations employee was killed on the job yesterday when a falling tree limb struck him on the head, state police said.

Charles Edward Olinger Jr., 35, of Taneytown was hit on the head by a limb cut by another county worker while they were trimming trees in the area of Tyrone and Cross Section roads near Mayberry, said Cpl. Jeffrey Tanzola of the Westminster barracks.

Fatal forklift accident being investigated

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, FL -- The Occupational Safety & Health Administration is looking into a forklift accident that killed a man Tuesday afternoon.

The accident happened around 4:45 p.m. at Golden Harvest Fruit Company, in the 4700 block of North U.S. 1.

Victor Sirmons, 40, of Fort Pierce, was operating a forklift when investigators think he struck a pothole in the pavement near standing water, which caused the forklift to overturn onto him.

Construction worker falls from Skyway

Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman Brian Steele says construction on the Chicago Skyway has been halted while an investigation continues into an accident that killed a worker yesterday.

Police spokesman Sergeant Edward Alonzo says 42-year-old Raul Rebelles of Chicago was crossing an improvised wooden bridge covering a Skyway viaduct when he fell about 30 feet to the ground.

Steele says it appears that a portion of the walkway gave way at one of its supports.

USPS Worker Dies in Brylane Warehouse Accident

Indiana workplace safety officials and postal inspectors are investigating the death of a U.S. Postal Service clerk in a conveyor-related accident at Brylane's Indianapolis facility.

Bruce McFarland, a 37-year postal employee, was injured March 31 and died April 4. The facility warehouses inventory, and receives and fulfills purchasing orders from individual consumers. McFarland worked at Brylane's Detached Mail Unit, an area of the facility where postal employees perform mail verification, acceptance, dispatch and other postal functions.

He was "trapped between a door and a conveyor," said Pete Rimsans, a spokesman at the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Division, which is investigating. "There was a crushing injury."

S.F. police officer killed by gunman

SAN FRANCISCO - A San Francisco police officer has been shot and killed on duty, the first such death since 1994. Authorities said the shooting took place late Saturday in the city's Bayview District after the two undercover officers approached a man who was acting suspiciously.

"They were going to talk to him and called out to him, and that's when he turned around and started shooting," Sgt. Neville Gittens said.

The man fired on officers with an automatic weapon, hitting both officers before fleeing, Gittens said. Officer Isaac Espinoza, 29, died after being shot twice. He was an eight-year veteran of the department. His partner, Officer Barry Parker, 38, was shot in the left leg.

Six Flags employee killed by coaster

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- An employee at Six Flags Magic Mountain who was struck and killed by a roller coaster Friday has been identified by authorities. Bantita Rackchamroon, 21, walked onto the Scream roller coaster's tracks in a restricted area shortly before the park opened, said park spokeswoman Sue Carpenter. She died at a local hospital.

Worker Falls To Death While Installing Chimney Caps: Family Wants To Know If Safety Procedures Were Followed

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A 33-year-old Cass County man died on Thursday when he fell from the roof of an apartment complex where he was installing chimney caps.

Royce Martinson had three young children to take care of. So, despite having been through one kidney transplant and needing another, he almost never called in sick to work, KMBC's Martin Augustine reported.

Fall from bridge kills painter

A painter working on the Benicia-Martinez Bridge lost his balance and plunged 120 feet to his death Wednesday afternoon, Caltrans officials said.

The worker, identified as 50-year-old William Calloway of Benicia, was getting ready to paint a portion of the existing span near the Martinez side at 3:05 p.m. when he tried to step from a scaffold to the edge of a concrete bridge column. He lost his balance and fell backward, said Caltrans spokesman Steve Cobb.


David Wells, the 30-year-old logger injured on March 26 while working as a groundsman in the 400 block of Valley Road in Valley of Enchantment, clings to life at Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUC).

A resident of Mentone, Wells was one of a handful of TFR Enterprises and Kansas City Tree Care workers utilizing a rope to guide the fall of a 120-foot pine tree when he reportedly moved in the wrong direction and was struck by the top portion of the bark beetle infested tree causing major injuries.

Man killed in North Las Vegas dump truck mishap

(North Las Vegas, NV) -- The man who died in a workplace accident earlier this week has been identified by authorities. North Las Vegas Police say 24-year-old Brian Sullivan was standing between a dump truck and a trailer Tuesday afternoon, when the truck driver tried to hook the two vehicles together. Sullivan was crushed between the trailer and the truck at "Rainbow Rock Company" on West Cheyenne Avenue.

Construction Worker Crushed By Steamroller In Seminole County

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. -- A construction worker was critically injured Wednesday morning when a steamroller pinned him against some heavy equipment. The victim was working on a road project on Alafaya Woods Boulevard in Seminole County around 8am.

James Walker was standing between a roller and paver, preparing for his morning shift. For some yet unknown reason, the roller operator drove the heavy machinery right into him.

Walker's lower part of his body was crushed. He was air lifted to the emergency room at Orlando Regional Medical Center.... He's in stable condition. He suffered a broken lower left leg and a broken upper right leg. Doctors are checking to see if any of his internal organs were damaged.

Longtime Colbert County Sheriff's Department employee dies in wreck

TUSCUMBIA, AL – A longtime Colbert County Sheriff's Department employee died Tuesday afternoon when her vehicle was struck by an oncoming car at U.S. 72 and Woodmont Drive.

Patricia M. Lloyd, 49, 510 Monroe Ave., Muscle Shoals, was heading south on Woodmont at approximately 1 p.m., proceeding through the intersection, when a blue van driven by an unidentified woman hit her on the driver's side

MSHA identifies miner killed in accident

ERBACON, W.Va. -- Federal mining officials on Tuesday identified a miner killed at a Brooks Run Mining Co. LLC underground mine over the weekend.

William Brady, 47, a continuous mining machine operator at the Mercer Deep Mine near Erbacon, was crushed between the machine and part of the mine wall about 11:40 p.m. Saturday, according to a preliminary accident report from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. Brady died about 12:44 a.m. Sunday, the report said.

"We are conducting a full investigation there," said MSHA spokesman Rodney Brown.

Brady's death was the second fatality at the Webster County complex this year.

On March 2, 50-year-old Kerry Holliday of Smoot was trying to clear a feeder chute when a stockpile collapsed and killed him at the complex's preparation plant. Brooks Run failed to follow a routine procedure of cutting back coal walls to reduce the risk of a slide, Doug Conaway, director of the state Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training, had said.


Three thugs shot and critically wounded a clerk yesterday during a robbery at an all-night Brooklyn produce market where an employee was killed two years ago by a thief trying to steal a lime.

Cops said the bandits, all brandishing guns, walked into the David Fruits market on Church Avenue in East Flatbush at around 1:30 a.m., ordered an employee to open the cash register and grabbed an undetermined amount of money.

They forced four workers into a bathroom, holding a gun to one's head, then shot Tony Garcia, 22, in the jaw just below his right ear before fleeing.

A security camera filmed the heist and police were examining it.

Garcia, the father of two children who live with their mother in Mexico, was in a critical but stable condition at Kings County Hospital.

Worker Dies After Falling From Roof

STORM LAKE, Iowa -- A man who was working on a roof of a plant in Storm Lake died after he apparently slipped and fell.

Victor Duran, 32, of Storm Lake, fell from the roof at Rembrandt Enterprises March 30. He died Friday at a hospital in Sioux City.

Construction Worker Dies in 80' Fall

Salt Lake City, Utah -- A construction worker who was taking apart a crane tower fell 80 feet to his death.

Scott M. Fisher, 39, of Alpine, was working on the crane at an apartment construction site Saturday afternoon when the accident happened.

Gulfstream worker dies after getting pinned

GREENVILLE — A 40-year-old Greenville man died early Sunday after being injured in an accident about three hours earlier at Gulfstream Aerospace.

Clyde A. Kees, N1147 Westhaven Drive, was in a lift, working on an aircraft when he dropped an exacto knife he had in his hand. He bent down to pick it up and ended up getting pinned between the lift and aircraft, according to Outagamie County Coroner Ruth Wulgaert.

EMS worker dies on the job

A Rensselaer County EMS worker died while transporting a patient to the hospital.

Police said at around 7 p.m. Saturday, the Castleton volunteer ambulance service responded to a call on Birch Hill.

While transporting the patient to the hospital, the ambulance driver, Gerald "Jerry" Stalker, suffered a heart attack. The ambulance went off the road and into a ditch. A second ambulance then came to assist.