Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Weekly Toll

A list of those who didn't make it home from work over the past couple of weeks.

Rookie officer killed investigating break-in

EL PASO, Texas - A police officer who had been on the job less than a month was fatally shot while responding to a call for a family disturbance, El Paso police said.

Officer Angel Barcena, 38, who graduated from the police academy Aug. 26 and was recently married, died early Saturday at Beaumont Army Medical Center shortly after being shot.

Investigators examine logging truck's fatal tumble

FLORENCE, OR - The U.S. Forest Service and Lane County sheriff's office are investigating a fatal accident involving a logging truck that rolled down a steep embankment and ejected its driver.

The driver, Paul Haley of Florence, was killed. Officials will try to determine whether Haley should have had a permit to haul heavy equipment on the road and why it suddenly gave way on Wednesday afternoon.

Haley, a seven-year employee of R and R King Logging in Florence, was operating a tractor-trailer rig, which carried a large piece of equipment called a yarder. He was moving the yarder to another logging site, but taking an alternate route because of weight restrictions on the aging Siuslaw River bridge and a fish culvert replacement project on Sweet Creek Road near Mapleton.

Haley's truck was attached to another truck to help climb a steeper grade on Maple Creek Road. After negotiating a hairpin turn, the road gave way, and Haley's rig tumbled 100 to 150 feet down an embankment, said R and R owner Kay King. Haley was ejected and crushed beneath the wreckage.

Crash kills Islip town worker

Islip, NY -- Thomas Rose devoted his life to being at one with nature. The Bay Shore man got up early every morning to watch the sun rise over the Bay Shore Marina and came back before nightfall to watch it dip down below the horizon. He even designed his work life so that he could spend time outdoors, taking a job with the town highway department.

The Town of Islip worker died early Friday from injuries sustained when he was struck by a car as he attempted to cross a road Wednesday, Suffolk police said.

Rose, 54, was working for the Town of Islip Highway Department on Spur Drive South, west of Commack Road in Islip just before 9:30 a.m. when he stepped into the roadway. Rose, who was clearing debris from the side of the road, was struck by a 1986 Jaguar driven by Devere Ferrell, 55, of Brentwood. A town spokeswoman said Rose began working for Islip in 1987 as a maintenance mechanic. He current title was heavy equipment operator.

Capitol security warning ignored

SPRINGFIELD, IL -- The Statehouse driveway that a shotgun-toting young man used to approach and kill an unarmed guard was identified as a serious security risk five years ago, but steps to make it more secure were largely ignored.

Money, traffic flow concerns and a legislative desire not to see the state Capitol turned into a bunker all contributed to the inaction toward the area surrounding the building's main entrance, according to sources within the Legislature, Secretary of State Jesse White's office and elsewhere in state government.

Now, after the murder of guard William Wozniak, questions have been raised about whether his death could have been averted had the state followed security recommendations that consultant Arcon Associates laid out in a 1999 report for Gov. George Ryan's administration.

Worker Electrocuted By Overhead Power Line

BIG BAY, Mich. -- A construction worker was killed and two others were injured when their vehicle they were using came into contact with an overhead power line.

James M. Bertucci, 41, of Ishpeming was pronounced dead at the scene Thursday, according to a report from Capt. Dave Lemire of the Marquette County Sheriff's Department. They were attempting to guide a metal culvert when the construction vehicle it was attached to made contact with the power line.

Butler officer killed

The fatal shooting of a Butler University policeman Friday turned one of the city's more stately neighborhoods into a hunting ground for the officer's killer.

The shooting of James L. Davis, 31, paralyzed the campus and the quaint Butler-Tarkington neighborhood -- leading to an intense manhunt.

It was the second fatal shooting of an on-duty police officer in five weeks. On Aug. 18, Indianapolis Police Department Patrolman Timothy "Jake" Laird was killed during a shootout.

Sulphur Police Officers killed in traffic accident

Lake Charles, LA -- The Lake Charles Police Department is investigating an auto accident that took the life of Sulphur Police Officer William Nichols, 37 and Lake Charles Police Officer Gary Sensat, 50, Friday morning.

Perth Amboy man dies after fall at factory

OLD BRIDGE, NJ — A Perth Amboy man died Tuesday morning when he fell into a vat of copper sulfate while working at Madison Industries/Old Bridge Chemical Inc.

While township detectives await the results of an investigation by the Middlesex County medical examiner, local police have classified the death of Raymendo Molina, 38, as a “tragic industrial accident,” according to Lt. Robert Weiss of the Old Bridge Police.

Police were summoned to the chemical plant on Waterworks Road at about 5:06 a.m. after Molina’s co-workers could not find the mixing machine operator in the plant for more 30 minutes, Weiss said. Molina had arrived at the plant to start his 12-hour shift at 4 a.m. and was last seen just before 4:30 a.m. by Nelson Cruz, his co-worker and brother-in-law.

As Patrolman Donald Fritz was en route to the scene, police received another call that a plant employee had noticed something unusual inside a 5-foot-deep vat of copper sulfate, Weiss said. A fiberglass catwalk above the vat was discovered to be broken.

Track-hoe accident kills official's son

Richmond, VA -- The son of a Prince George County supervisor died yesterday after becoming trapped between parts of a track-hoe he was operating.

Bradley S. Forehand, 24, was clearing debris with a track-hoe at the family business, Retro Insulation Inc., when he became entangled between the cab and heavy arm of the machinery, said Prince George County police Sgt. Kenneth Williams.

OSHA Begins Investigating Crane Death

Sioux Falls, SD -- An OSHA investigator spent the afternoon looking the death of an Ohio construction worker, crushed by a crane while working on a Sioux Falls city well. 37-year-old Timothy Walsh of Columbus, was loading equipment back onto a flatbed trailer Wednesday when a crane started to sink. It tipped, crushing Walsh.

Worker electrocuted by power line dies

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - A man who was electrocuted while working on a sign near a power line more than a month ago has died. Billy Earl Todd, 58, died Wednesday at an Augusta, Ga. hospital, family members said.

Todd was shocked by a power line carrying 115,000 volts on Aug. 9 and suffered burns on 90 percent of his body. Todd had worked at Tysons Signs Systems for more than 36 years.

2 Construction Workers Fall; 1 Dies

HOUSTON -- A construction worker died Wednesday night after falling from a makeshift platform at a west Houston construction site.

Police told Local 2 that two workers fell three stories while working on the chimney of a townhome on Memorial Drive at about 6 p.m.

Investigators said the men were on a makeshift wooden three-sided platform, but something happened causing the two men to fall. More here.

Man killed working at church construction site in Halls

KNOXVILLE -- A construction worker died Wednesday morning after steel beams fell on him at a construction site for a church in Halls.

Forty-eight-year-old Calvin Parsons was working at the future site of Redemption Harvest Church on Old Maynardville Pike. Construction has been underway for about two months.
Family members tell 6 News that Parsons was on top of a trailer, directing a forklift operator who was lifting steel beams.

"He must have just lost his balance and fell. And when he did, the beam fell, rolled over him, hit his head and rolled down, rolled down his body," said his cousin, Julie Collins.

Aberdeen man identified as BWI worker killed

LINTHICUM - A worker killed yesterday in a construction accident at Baltimore-Washington International Airport has been identified as Marlo Cabot, 41, of Aberdeen.

Cabot, an employee of Minneapolis-based Harmon Inc., was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center about 10 a.m. Tuesday after a 1-ton pallet of glass panels fell on him. He died a few hours later.

According to Harmon spokeswoman Mary Ann Jackson, Cabot had been employed as an iron worker with the company's Baltimore office since November. Harmon is installing glass panels in the fa├žade of the airport's new A/B Terminal, which will house Southwest Airlines operations.

Trench job was unsafe, says fire official

St. Louis, MO -- A trench that collapsed and killed a worker installing septic lines Tuesday was not shored up properly, a fire official who was on the scene said Wednesday.

The worker who died was identified Wednesday as Christian R. Schmid, 32, of Silex.

Deputy Chief Randy Sanders of the O'Fallon Fire Protection District said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration "would not be pleased with what they see at the site. The company did not follow the standards or the rules."

A man who identified himself as Butch Menne, owner of the company Schmid worked for, B & J Septic and Excavation of Silex, would not answer questions about the cave-in or say whether the trench had been shored up when reached over the telephone.

"It's nobody's business," he said and then hung up.

Two Itasca County men die in truck hit by falling tree

GRAND RAPIDS — Two Harris Township workers died Tuesday afternoon as a result of a tree falling on the cab of the pickup truck they were driving on Lakeview Drive south of Grand Rapids. Law enforcement officials identified the two workers as Kenneth Michael Johnson, 42, and James Matthew Booth, 40, both of rural Grand Rapids.

Itasca County Sheriff Pat Medure stated the two victims were in their township work truck heading west on Lakeview Drive when an oak tree fell on the cab of the truck.

Construction Fatality

A Tazewell County, Virginia construction worker is dead, after being run over by a back hoe. It happened while crews were working on Lee Highway yesterday morning. Virginia State Police say 20 year old John Anthony Mullins was operating a saw, when he tripped, and the front tire of the backhoe ran over his torso.He was pronounced dead just over an hour later at Bristol Regional Medical Center.

Railroad employee killed in Saline

A railroad employee was killed in Saline on Monday when he was pinned between an engine and a rail car near the Visteon plant.

Charles Hatch Jr., 46, of Toledo, was crushed about 2:30 p.m. along tracks that run behind the Michigan Avenue plant, police and fire officials said.

Saline Fire Chief Craig Hoeft said the victim was lodged between the engine and the car when firefighters and Visteon employees arrived at the scene. Firefighters asked Hatch's co-worker to move the engine enough to free the man's body, but there was no pulse when they and Huron Valley Ambulance paramedics tried to resuscitate him.

One Alabama Power Employee Dies In Shelby County

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- In neighborhoods across Alabama, the sounds of chainsaws can be heard. With power still out for thousands of homes, tree services were the first to move in, clearing the way for electric companies and creating a tree-trimming marathon.

The restoration of the state’s power has resulted in one death so far. An Alabama Power Co. worker was killed Sunday in Shelby County.

Details about the accident, which occurred near Lay Dam, are being withheld until a preliminary investigation is conducted. The worker's name was withheld until next-of-kin is notified.

Man killed in accident at State Fair

HUTCHINSON, Kan. - A Kansas State Fair employee was killed Monday when a beam fell on him while workers were taking down part of the grandstand stage, police said.

They said a cable broke and the beam fell on Larry Ankerholz, 55, of Hutchinson. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Man killed when dirt collapses onto him in trench

Knoxville, TN -- A 52-year-old man installing a storm drain with his son died Monday night when a dirt wall collapsed on him in a trench in Northwest Knox County.

Recovery crews worked for hours, removing dirt bucket by bucket, before finally locating the unnamed man's body at 10:41 p.m. in the Lexi Landing subdivision. The development is off Cate Road near West Emory Road, near the Knox-Anderson county line.

A trench box had been installed for protection, but it appeared dirt had been piled too high above the box, Yu said. The dirt apparently shifted and cascaded onto the man, burying him under more than 15 feet of soil.

Ed Kimbell, 52, of Pine Crest, died Monday evening while installing a storm drain with his son, John Kimbell, in the Lexi Landing subdivision. A dirt wall collapsed on him in a trench, authorities said.

Worker dies at Iowa Events Center

Authorities this morning identified the construction worker who died Sunday after he was struck with a steel beam while working at the Iowa Events Center.

Bill Augustine, age 65, a resident of the Indianola area, was an employee of National Riggers & Erectors, a subsidiary of Havens Steel. He was killed about 9:30 p.m., officials said. More here.

Worker identified in Friday's construction accident

George Nino, 20, died of suffocation according to the medical examiner's report.
He was trapped in a trench after a water main broke.

Nino was part of a crew hired to help build Capital Metro's northside operations center off of Burnet Road.

The Austin company he worked for, I-D Guerra, was cited in 2003 by OSHA. The company was fined $1,500 for failing to provide protective excavation systems. Investigators are trying to determine if trench wall supports were in place Friday when Nino was killed.

OSHA Investigating Dock Accident

Huntsville, AL - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA is investigating a deadly accident at a local dock.

36-year-old Anthony Clyde Collins was killed Tuesday while working on a barge on the banks of the Tennessee River.

A four man team was using torches to dismantle the barge. Workers say part of the barge fell, crushing Collins.

Harriman Community Remembers Officer Killed in Storm

Hundreds of East Tennesseeans pay their final respects to a police officer killed in the line of duty. Officer Matt Rittenhouse was killed after his cruiser hydroplaned and flipped, while he was driving through heavy rains and winds. The small community of Harriman remains in shock as it says goodbye to Officer Rittenhouse.

Bolt kills Gridley farmer

Unusual weather was to blame for the death of a 35-year-old Butte County farmer and mechanic, officials said Sunday.

John Michael Bettencourt, 35, was working in a field just east of Gridley when, officials say, he was struck by lightning, according to the Butte County Sheriff's Department.

Man allegedly attacked by co-worker dies

Toledo, OH -- A 19-year-old Nevada native who was working at a South Toledo telemarketing firm died yesterday in Medical College of Ohio Hospitals, about 39 hours after he allegedly was attacked by a co-worker.

John Roa, of Toledo, who police said suffered severe bleeding around the brain, died at 10:30 a.m., his mother, Teresa Szirbik, said.

Worker dies in fall at Met

New York - A repairman at the Metropolitan Museum of Art plunged 60 feet to his death yesterday, landing by the museum's famed Egyptian exhibit in front of several horrified visitors, police said.

Marcin Kielar, 26, of Queens, was waterproofing the glass ceiling over the majestic Temple of Dendur when he fell to the cold marble floor at 10:20 a.m., police said.

A handful of horrified museum patrons and security guards rushed to Kielar's side, and he was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital with severe trauma, police said. He died at 11:07 a.m.

Kielar was wearing a harness, but investigators believe he had untethered himself momentarily just before the 6-by-6-foot glass panel he was standing on fell through.

UH mourns death of groundskeeper in fall

Hawaii -- His boys called him "boss" but thought of him as their grandpa. He scolded them if they slacked off, but he also bought them lunch at the student cafeteria, encouraged them to work hard, and gave them a lesson in what it meant to care.

Yesterday, University of Hawai'i student workers under his direction were trying to come to grips with the sudden death of 78-year-old groundskeeper Harris Okuda, who was their leader but had become part of their family.

Okuda was found on the floor of a garden shed behind the Hale Laulima dorm Thursday night, a rake he had been using still balanced on the roof that he might have been clearing of leaves. Students said they thought he had been sweeping the roof to get it ready for a second coat of paint.

The city medical examiner's office yesterday said his death was an accident and that he died of head injuries.

Worker Dies Helping Victims Of Frances

LAKE WALES - A worker for the Christian Contractors Association has died after falling and hitting his head while helping repair a room damaged by Hurricane Frances.

Dwight Durham, 57, of Brooksville was working with the organization putting tarps on storm-damaged roofs when he fell about 6 feet from a ladder Friday and hit his head on a cement walkway, killing him.

Man drowns at construction site

A construction worker drowned Friday afternoon at a work site in Northwest Austin at the entrance to the new Capital Metro North Operations Maintenance Facility.

At 11:30 a.m. Friday, four construction workers ran into a problem with a water pipe that broke while they working in a 10-foot trench.

One 20-year-old man didn't make it out alive. "They were working on underground utilities. There was a 12-inch pipe into a 6-inch pipe that they were putting an elbow in and that ruptured," EMS District Commander Vikkie Branning said.

Construction Worker Killed In Napa Industrial Accident

Napa, CA - State workplace safety officials are investigating the death of a construction foreman who was crushed by a crane at a construction site in Napa on Monday afternoon.

It was the latest in a series of at least six industrial accidents in Napa County since 2003.

Napa police Cmdr. Andy Lewis said 44-year-old Jeffrey Lee Huffman of Napa was crushed around 1 p.m. by a horizontal crane used to deliver wood and building supplies at the construction site at 1125 Golden Gate Drive in an industrial area in south Napa.

Huffman was a foreman for Andrews & Thornley Construction of Napa. Lewis said the company was building a two-story structure inside a huge warehouse. The building was to be used for offices and equipment by a vineyard management company, Lewis said.

Huffman's assistant apparently couldn't see Huffman on a ladder on the side of the building under construction when he maneuvered the crane into position to deliver supplies to the roof area of the building, Lewis said. The crane crushed Huffman against the side of the building, Lewis said.

Just 10 days ago, Rebecca Kogan, 39, of Menlo Park, died at a construction site in American Canyon when she was run over by a motor grader.

Officer killed in storm-related crash

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. Police in Harriman say the storm that had been Hurricane Ivan contributed to the third fatality from an explosion and fire at an electrical substation here.

A four-man crew was preparing to move a regulator from a substation on Arkansas 201, north of Mountain Home, to another location when it exploded. Foreman Desi Jones died several hours after the explosion. Ivey Hodge died about 36 hours after the accident. North Arkansas Electric Cooperative says Chris Hickman is recovering at his home in Mountain Home. All were severely burned.

Beaumont officer killed when copter crashes into lake

BEAUMONT, TX - A Beaumont police officer was killed and a sheriff's deputy swam to safety when their helicopter crashed into Sabine Lake, authorities said.

The helicopter crashed late Wednesday as the officers checked out reports of a fire that turned out to be a trash fire, Port Arthur Assistant Police Chief Mark Blanton told KFDM-TV in Beaumont.

Police Sgt. Mike Lane, 54, died, Beaumont officer Crystal Holmes said. Deputy Jeremy Battenfield survived.

County employee dies in road mishap

DAVENPORT, IA - Scott County Secondary Roads Department employee Kevin Dahms was the type of worker who took pride in his job.

The motor grader operator was normally one of the first workers to leave the department's Dixon shed each morning, taking great care to ensure the county's gravel roads were in tip-top shape.

That's how Scott County employees remembered Dahms on Monday, two days after the 32-year county employee died from injuries he suffered last week when the county truck he was driving crashed on Utica Ridge Road.

Windmill fatality probed

Investigators are trying to determine why a Somerset County windmill that was undergoing repairs started up without warning, sending a Denmark man crashing 60 feet to his death.

Niels Otto Anderson Sjolander, 52, was being lowered to the ground in a basket suspended from a crane when the windmill's turbine began to move, said state police at Somerset.

One of the blades on the turbine struck the arm of the crane, causing the arm to collapse and the basket to plummet to the ground at 9:39 a.m. Monday.

Lexington Police made an arrest in the city's lastest murder.

Police say 32-year-old Darryl Burrell shot and killed a convenience store clerk at the Dairy Mart off Byan Station Road and New Circle yesterday afternoon.
Burrell also shot another man working in the store. Police report his injuries are not life-threatening.

22-year-old Ashley Cason died at the UK Hospital. The name of the other victim is not known.

Barge Worker Crushed by Falling Debris

Huntsville, AL -- A freak accident in the Shoals ends fatally.
The accident happened just after 5 pm Tuesday on the banks of the Tennessee River. A 4-man team were using torches to dismantle a barge in the port of Florence. Workers say part of the barge fell crushing one of the workers.

Oscar Haley saw the accident. He said, 'We were tearing the old barge apart and some way or another, part of it came loose. There was nothing we could do."

Roofer Dies While Repairing Hurricane Damage

Osceola County, FL -- An accident has claimed the life of a roofer who was working to repair hurricane damage in Osceola County.

The accident happened on Grifford Drive in Poinciana Monday afternoon, WESH NewsChannel 2 reported.

The man fell through a skylight that had been covered by tar paper.

The victim is believed to be about 40. He landed on a concrete floor, struck his head, and died on the way to the hospital.

Construction worker dies in accident

City of Pewaukee, WI - A 36-year-old Waterford man died Thursday morning after a large fork truck struck and rolled over him at the construction site of a business at N29 W23720 Woodgate Court East.

According to City of Pewaukee Police Chief Gary Bach, the man, Scott G. Heilert, a construction worker for three years for Custom Structural Incorporated of Big Bend, was cutting steel rods with a power saw.

Heilert was working with his back to the fork truck, which is a large piece of equipment with parts that obscure the operator's view, Bach said.

"The guy driving the truck had no way of seeing him," Bach said.

In the Line of Duty: Glen A. York II

CLEVELAND, September 3 -- Glen A. “Skip” York, II, a member of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division 811, was killed in a remote control switching accident in the Burlington Northern Santa Fe yard in Clovis, N.M., on September 2.

Brother York, 26, joined BLET Division 811 in Clovis on April 1, 2004, following in the footsteps of his father, Glen A. York, who also belongs to Division 811.

Brother York and another BLET member were wearing Belt Packs and working as Remote Control Operators in the BNSF yard when the accident happened. Investigators from the BLET Safety Task Force, National Transportation Safety Board, UTU, and the Federal Railroad Administration are still trying to determine what happened.

More information on remote switching here.

Two Detectives Slain

Detective Bobby Parker followed his calling to the end. As he lay dying on a Brooklyn street on Friday night, he managed to call 911 and tell the operator that the man who had shot him and his fellow detective, Patrick Rafferty, was pictured in a mug shot on the dashboard of their car.

That same mug shot was soon being distributed by police officers in their exhaustive manhunt for the suspect, who was apprehended shortly after the shooting.

Detective Parker, a teddy-bearish 6-foot-4 former wrestler, and Detective Rafferty, a Long Islander who took his three children on camping trips - were killed in a confrontation with a suspect whose mother had come to the precinct because she was frightened of her sometimes violent son. In the ensuing struggle, the son, Marlon Legere, took Detective Parker's gun and used it to shoot them both, a law enforcement official said.