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News and Commentary on Workplace Health & Safety, Labor and Politics

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Weekly Toll

Another couple of weeks of senseless workplace deaths. It's funny, but after doing these for a while, you note patterns from time to time. This week, there seem to be quite a few (seven) double fatalities, also eight public employees -- JB

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Accident kills worker in Colonial Heights

Richmond, VA -- A Colonial Heights city employee died yesterday at VCU Medical Center after being struck in the head by a metal hose coupling while trying to unstop a clogged drain.

Mills D. Boyette, 60, who had worked seven years as a utility technician for the city's utilities department, was one of four employees trying to unclog a drain at a public restroom in White Bank Park about 1:40 p.m. Friday, Fire Chief A.G. Moore said.

A high-pressure hose burst, and a coupling struck Boyette in the back of the head. Boyette was initially taken to Southside Regional Medical Center in Petersburg and was later transferred via helicopter to VCU Medical Center, Moore said.


Second KDOT Employee Killed Sparks Concerns

Monday’s fatal accident in Lyon County was the second KDOT worker killed along Kansas highways in the last two months.

Cars on Kansas highways often travel at speeds in excess of 70-miles-per-hour, even in construction zones, and if the driver is distracted, there's little margin for error.

24-year-old Shawn McDonald worked with this crew. In June, Shawn McDonald lost his life in when he was struck by a driver who'd lost control on Highway 75. Yesterday 46 year old Richard Cunningham of Emporia was killed when a KDOT dump truck and a semi-trailer hauling rock collided.


Construction worker dies after fall from house

A construction worker fell to his death on the morning of Aug. 18 while working in Vernondale Village, a new housing community being built on post by private developer Clark Pinnacle.

Antelmo Francisco Lira, 38, fell from a 2-foot-wide opening on the second floor and was found unconscious on the first floor.

Lira was an employee of a Clark Pinnacle sub-contractor. The Army’s Criminal Investigation Division and representatives from the Occupational and Health Safety Administration conducted separate investigations of Lira’s fall.


Employee killed in explosion at Michigan racetrack

BUTLER TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- A fuel building exploded and burned at a stock car race track in southern Michigan, killing one employee and injuring two others, the Branch County Sheriff's Department says.

The explosion happened about 5 p.m. Saturday at Butler Motor Speedway in Butler Township, near Coldwater and about 30 miles south of Battle Creek, the department said. It said about 1,000 people were temporarily evacuated from the area.

It said two people received minor injuries but Rudy Corsini, 49, of Michigan Center was critically injured. He was taken to Coldwater Hospital, then flown by helicopter to the burns unit at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, where he died Sunday.


Courthouse worker falls, dies

TAMPA, FL - A 28-year-old man removing asbestos from the old Hillsborough County courthouse in downtown Tampa fell from the third floor Thursday morning, landing on his head and later dying at Tampa General Hospital.

Roberto Velazco Lopez, a worker for Cross Environmental Services, was working in the third-floor ceiling at 9:23 a.m. when he stepped on an area that did not support his weight, said Tampa Police spokesman Joe Durkin.

Lopez, of Tampa, fell through the ceiling to the floor 18 feet below.


Delivery driver dies of injuries after rollover

TECOPA, NV - A well liked Schwan's delivery truck driver died from injuries sustained outside of Tecopa on Tuesday when he lost control of his vehicle and it rolled several times, ejecting 24-year-old Anthony 'Tony' Schmitz, destroying the truck and scattering frozen food all over the roadway.

Schmitz had been through Tecopa Hot Springs and Shoshone and was heading toward Tecopa Heights on California Highway 127 at about 2:45 when he tried to make the left hand turn onto Tecopa Hot Springs Road at a high rate of speed. "We don't know exactly how fast he was going," said California Highway Patrol Officer Tim Huldermann, who responded to the scene, "but speed was definitely a factor."

Schmitz lost control of the vehicle when the heavy load shifted and the truck rolled at least twice, breaking into pieces.


Owner, 42, dies in robbery at doughnut shop

Houston, TX -- A 42-year-old Houston man was stabbed and beaten to death early Saturday during a robbery of the Baytown doughnut shop he owned, Baytown police reported.

At about 4:40 a.m., Bonrith In, owner of Dina's Donuts in the 3700 block of West Baker, complied with the robber's demands and gave him an unknown amount of money, police said.

When the robber demanded more, the pair struggled, and In was stabbed multiple times and suffered several blows to the head, police said. He died at the scene. The attacker remains at large.


Marathon County worker killed when dump truck hit by train

SPENCER, Wis. - A Marathon County worker was killed Tuesday when a freight train collided with the small dump truck he was backing across the railroad tracks, authorities said. Michael Mathwich, 55, of Marathon, who worked for the county Highway Department, was hauling a load of rocks at the time of the crash along Hoff Road south of Spencer, the sheriff's department said.


NT man dies in industrial accident at Frontier Fibres


North Tonawanda, NY -- An accident at a North Tonawanda business Friday night has left an employee dead.

Lee Wilson, 42, 18 Ransom St., North Tonawanda, was found dead around 9 p.m. by co-workers at Frontier Fibres after he was caught in a cardboard compressor. The machine was shut off as soon as his body was discovered among boxes.


Body of worker found day after trench cave-in

The body of a Blount County construction worker, buried Tuesday afternoon when a trench caved in on him in Clay, was found Wednesday morning.

Jacky Blackwood, 21, of the Nectar community had worked for a Leeds construction company about three weeks. He was in a ditch making connections to a sewer main about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday when the walls collapsed.

Center Point Battalion Fire Chief Robert VanHooser said the trench was on a hillside. The uphill side of the trench collapsed, which caused the other side to collapse.

He said there was nothing to indicate the walls of the trench had been shored up.

"Shoring is required on ditches deeper than 5 feet," said Robert Sanchez, area director of the Birmingham office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The trench was 6 feet wide and at least 16 feet deep. Efforts to reach the owner of O'cet Inc. were unsuccessful Wednesday. (More here)


Mobile man dies in three-story fall

Mobile, AL- A 63-year-old man was killed Tuesday when he fell three stories while installing an air-conditioning unit at a hotel under construction near the Eastern Shore Centre. Lonnie Poole of Mobile was standing in a window or doorway, guiding a crane operator who was lifting the unit into a Holiday Inn Express near the Interstate 10 Malbis exit around 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to J. David Greene, a Mobile attorney who said his law firm was investigating the incident.


Teens Allegedly Kill Delivery Man For Money To Party

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Four teenagers are accused of killing a Chinese food delivery driver for money to party with. The suspects were in juvenile court Tuesday.

Kansas City, MO -- Benjamin McReynolds, Brandon McReynolds, Brandon Johnson and Cortez Ennis are charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy and aggravated battery. They range in age from 14 to 17. The youngest was allegedly found with bloody money in his pockets.

Zhihai Cui, 42, worked for the New Town China Buffet. He was found stabbed to death Friday night. He was new to the area and had no family in town.


Security Guard Fatally Shot at Nightclub Door

A nightclub security guard was killed late Friday after an altercation with a group of men who tried to enter the club without identification, the Sheriff's Department said.

Lloyd Gadlin, 39, of Los Angeles was working the door at Jeftys Nightclub in the 12800 block of Avalon Boulevard when the group approached just after 11 p.m., said Sheriff's Deputy Luis Castro.

An argument ensued and one of the men shot Gadlin in the upper torso, Castro said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.


Back hoe accident kills paving worker

A worker for a Butler County paving company was killed Monday when he was struck in the head by the bucket of a back hoe that was being loaded onto a trailer, a spokesman for the Allegheny County Coroner's Office said.

Douglas A. Wikert, 20, of Sarver, was pronounced dead at the scene after the accident, which occurred at 3:15 p.m. along Way Hollow Road in Edgeworth. Wikert was an employee of Brandt Paving, Inc., of Harmony.

Allegheny County homicide detectives are trying to determine how the accident occurred.


Michigan man dies in accident aboard tugboat

HURON, Ohio - A tugboat crewman was killed yesterday afternoon in an accident aboard his vessel on Lake Erie several miles off shore, the Erie County Sheriff's Office said.

Charles F. Grout II, 32, of Lansing was pronounced dead by rescue personnel when he was brought to a dock at the River's Edge Inn, a hotel and restaurant in Huron.

Mr. Grout apparently injured his head when he was struck by a broken cable while aboard his tugboat, the Kurt Leudtke, which was towing a barge, according to U.S. Coast Guard PO Matthew Schofield.

The barge had been in open water unloading mud, the petty officer said.


Explosive crash kills driver, officer injured

SANTA FE, NM -- A tanker truck hauling thousands of gallons of fuel overturned and exploded on Interstate 25 just south of Santa Fe, killing the driver and forcing the closure of the northbound lanes for hours, authorities said.

Witnesses told police flames from Wednesday's early morning crash rose 100 to 150 feet into the air, according to Peter Olson, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety.

Roger Harris, 46, of Albuquerque died in the accident.

Harris had picked up a load of fuel in Albuquerque about 3 a.m. Wednesday and was headed to Espanola, said Jim Polk of Polk Oil Co. Harris was hauling 7,500 gallons of gasoline and 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel.


Farmer killed in tractor accident

DOWAGIAC, MI - A 58-year-old man was killed early Wednesday in a farming accident in Cass County. The accident happened at around 3:30 a.m. on School St. in Silver Creek Twp. west of Dowagiac. According to the Cass County Sheriff's Department, 58-year-old Joseph Egger was killed when his tractor overturned and pinned him underneath. It appears the tractor struck an object and then rolled over. The accident remains under investigation.


Hub taxi driver killed in crash that closes Mass. Ave. bridge

Boston, MA -- The Massachusetts Avenue bridge into Cambridge was closed last night after a four-car wreck that killed a Boston taxi driver, police and fire officials said.

Just how the crash happened is still under investigation, but police said a cab driver was stopped on the bridge with car trouble and was outside of his taxi when he was struck about 9:30 p.m.

A green Mazda sedan rolled over, injuring a person inside, a late-model Oldsmobile screeched to a halt behind it and a second taxi driver was injured when his Metrocab company car was hit. But the Top Cab taxi driven by the only person killed appeared untouched. The cabbie's pants and shoes lay in the road, covered in powdered quick-dry that firefighters use to clean up liquid spills. (More here.)


Cotton workers killed in collision

Two men were killed and two others injured about 9:30 a.m. Saturday near Chapman Ranch when a pickup plowed under a semi-tractor cotton module that didn't stop at the crossroads, police said.

The module flipped onto its passenger side and skidded about 55 feet from impact after the collision, and the roof of the 2001 Dodge Ram crushed three cotton harvest workers before peeling off, said Department of Public Safety Trooper Gilbert Villarreal.

The pickup driver, David Austin Gass, 19, and front-seat passenger, Cornelio Peters-Groening, 20, both of Odonnell, died at the scene, Villarreal said. A back-seat passenger, Joseph Michael Martinez, 22, of Paint Rock, was taken by HALO-Flight to Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial and is in critical condition with head trauma, according to reports


Worker Dies Stuck in Cobb County Manhole

POWDER SPRINGS, GA -- A 43-year-old construction worker has died after being overcome by gas fumes in a manhole in Cobb County. Police say the victim, who has not been identified, was working at a subdivision in Powder Springs yesterday when he climbed down the nine-foot-deep manhole. Investigators also say he may have fallen into the manhole accidentally.


DHL Delivery Driver Killed After Truck Flips

A delivery driver died Thursday night when his truck blew a tire and flipped onto its side. Troopers said Robert Baysinger wasn't wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the DHL delivery truck then hit by a car.

The incident took place just after 6 p.m. on Southbound I-75 at the ramp to Cincinnati-Dayton Road.

A CareFlight medical helicopter rushed Baysinger to the hospital, but doctors couldn't save him.


Worker Falls Into Vat Of Molten Lead

WALLKILL, N.Y. A worker was killed when he fell into a vat of molten lead at an Orange County company. State Police say 24-year-old Jose Sartillo of Middletown worked at the Revere Smelting and Refining Corporation in Wallkill. Police say Sartillo was working near the smelting kettle when he fell in at about one a-m yesterday and was severely burned over his entire body. Orange County Coroner Tom Murray says death was probably instantaneous. He says the lead was nine thousand degrees Fahrenheit. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating how Sartillo fell into the vat.


Bluffs worker killed under train

A Council Bluffs man died Thursday, after the locomotive he was working on rolled backward.

The Council Bluffs Police Department was notified of an accident at 11:30 a.m. at Alter Trading Corp., 2603 Ninth Ave. When officers arrived on the scene, they learned that Lynn Knauss, 55, an employee of Alter's, was working underneath a locomotive when it began to roll backward.

Knauss became pinned between the undercarriage of the locomotive and an object described as a 250-pound rubber slab used between railroad tracks at intersections. Knauss was pronounced dead at the scene.


Essex County deputy killed by truck during traffic stop

MORIAH, N.Y.--n Essex County sheriff's deputy was killed early Wednesday when he was hit by a tractor-trailer while standing along the Adirondack Northway during a traffic stop.

Deputy Eric Loiselle, 31, had stopped a vehicle for speeding in the northbound lanes of Interstate 87 just before 1 a.m. when a truck driven by Jacek Bujalski of Quebec drove off the road and onto the shoulder, state police said.

Loiselle tried to avoid the truck by leaping over the hood of the vehicle he had pulled over, but was struck and killed, according to police. After hitting Loiselle, the truck slammed into the vehicle the deputy had stopped, slightly injuring its driver, Jonathan Roy of Quebec.


Ala. Gas Station Owner Killed During Theft

FORT PAYNE, Ala.-- A gas station owner was run over and killed when he tried to stop a driver from leaving without paying for $52 worth of gasoline, police said.

The driver had not been apprehended Sunday, and police Chief David Walker said the case was being investigated as a robbery-homicide.

Witnesses told police that Husain Caddi, owner of Fort Payne Texaco, "grabbed onto the vehicle" Friday when the driver began to drive off.

Caddi was dragged across the parking lot and onto a highway, where he fell to the pavement and was run over by the late model sport utility vehicle's rear wheel, Walker said.

"Other vehicles were leaving the station's lot and there was a great deal of traffic on the roadway near the station at the time," Walker said. Caddi, 54, later died at a hospital, Walker said.


Construction worker dies after fall from Kilgore shell building

Kilgore, TX- A construction worker was killed Tuesday when he fell from the roof of a shell building at Kilgore's Synergy Park. Sgt. Ron England with the Kilgore Police Department said the 28½-foot fatal fall was the second accident within a week at the 80,000-square-foot structure being built by the Kilgore Economic Development Corp. Martin Alfonso Torres, 53, an immigrant from Mexico who worked for H&H Coating of Kilgore was pronounced dead at Laird Memorial Hospital shortly after noon Tuesday.


Worker crushed to death, another injured at Port Everglades

Port Everglades, FL -- A heavy machine that loads propane tanks onto barges broke loose Thursday morning, crushing to death a man servicing it and injuring another. Timothy Murphy, 37, was showing his apprentice, Marshall Bowles, 30, how to change a seal on the machine for the Dynegy company about 10:30 a.m. at Berth 11, said Veda Coleman-Wright, spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office. During the maintenance, a 15-foot lifting arm weighing about a ton came loose and crushed Bowles, said Capt. Dave Erdman, spokesman for Broward County Fire Rescue. Murphy, who was knocked aside and slightly injured, was treated and released from Broward General Medical Center.


New Jersey Firefighter Killed by Suspected Drunk Driver

Keansburg, NJ -- A Keansburg, New Jersey firefighter was struck and killed Wednesday by a suspected drunk driver while directing traffic at the scene of a hazardous materials incident, officials said.

Joseph F. Walsh, age 76, served the Keansburg Fire Department for 54 years, said Capt. Albert Scott.

The department had responded to a minor hazardous materials incident at Keansburg High School, where Walsh was acting as a fire police officer.

"He was standing at the entrance to the high school and he was getting the vehicles out of the parking lot," Scott said. "While he was directing the traffic on Port Monmouth Road, a suspected drunk driver hit him and continued to flee the scene."


Cow tramples man to death

CHRISTOVAL, Texas -- A 72-year-old Central Texas ranch foreman was trampled to death by a cow while he was feeding some cattle Wednesday morning, authorities said.

The cow inflicted severe injuries to Eugene Barber's chest, said Russell Smith, Tom Green County justice of the peace.

"It's not uncommon," Smith said of the incident. "Once in a while you have a cow that is cantankerous." The cow turned on Barber as he was feeding it, then it bowled him over, said ranch owner Mary Lee Butts. "She just mauled him," Butts, who witnessed the attack, said in a story in Thursday's San Angelo Standard-Times.


Two ambulance workers killed in train collision

FALKVILLE, Ala. — An ambulance collided with a train in north Alabama Thursday, killing two ambulance workers. State troopers said the vehicle from American Ambulance Service in Hartselle was responding to a non-life-threatening call when the collision occurred on U.S. 31 about 10:30 a.m. The impact flipped the ambulance into a ditch. A male ambulance worker died at the scene, and a female worker died later at a hospital, troopers said. Their names were not immediately released.


Arrest made in death of cab driver

CASPER, Wyo. -- Police have arrested a man in connection with the shooting death of a cab driver.

Keith Jordan Booth, 18, of Casper, is in custody on suspicion of committing aggravated robbery and homicide in the commission of a robbery. The latter charge is treated as a first-degree murder and is punishable in Wyoming by the death penalty in certain cases.

Police found Gregory Clarkson, 25, a new employee of R.C. Cab Co., dead behind the wheel of his cab shortly after 6:30 a.m. Thursday. He had been shot in the chest, according to police. The vehicle's engine was still running when investigators arrived at the crime scene.

Booth was arrested Friday. He is expected to make an initial court appearance on Monday.


Two roofers killed by lightning strike in Fort Myers

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Lightning from a fast-moving thunderstorm struck and killed two roofers atop a town house as they were preparing to leave for the day, officials said.

Carlos B. Guillen, 28, and Gaspar Garcia, 20, were pronounced dead at the scene Thursday afternoon, officials said.

They were the second and third fatalities from lightning strikes in Lee County this year. A 39-year-old man died when he was struck by lightning on a Bonita Springs golf course in April.


ONE DRIVER DIES, ONE HURT IN CRASH

Schroeppel, PA -- A Hannibal man was critically injured early Tuesday when his sport utility vehicle crashed head-on into a tractor-trailer in Schroeppel, killing the driver, state police said.

Robert M. Collins, 49, of 1435 Gifford Road, was driving his 1998 Ford Explorer northwest on county Route 57 about 3:15 a.m. when he drifted into the oncoming lane, state police said. His vehicle slammed into the tractor-trailer, which overturned and caught fire.

The truck driver, Robert Bond, 58, of Brodheadsville, Pa., was pronounced dead at the scene, said Investigator Terry Bauer, of the Fulton state police station.

Bond, who worked for Cloverleaf Transportation, had just left the company's Route 46 terminal with a load of bottled beer destined for Jersey City, N.J. He had worked for Cloverleaf more than 20 years, a spokesman said.


Company says helicopter accident kills 2 in Gulf of Mexico

LAFAYETTE, La.-- A helicopter accident in the Gulf of Mexico killed two employees (Bill Dvorak and ?) of Air Logistics, a company that provides transportation to offshore oil and gas platforms, the company said Friday in a news release.

The accident happened Thursday but the company released few details, including the approximate location of the accident in the Gulf.


2 officers shot dead, Motorcyclist held after Southeast Heights manhunt

Albuquerque, NM- A motorcyclist with mental health problems may be at the center of one of the deadliest nights in the history of the Albuquerque Police Department. Detectives this morning were questioning the man, captured less than two hours after two police officers were shot and killed in a Southeast Heights neighborhood near Roosevelt Park, an Albuquerque Police Department spokesman said. An arrest warrant issued this morning identified the policemen as officers M. King and R. Smith. The warrant named John Hyde as the suspect.


N.M. Transportation Worker Found Dead in ABQ

Albuquerque, NM-Police are investigating the death of a New Mexico Department of Transportation employee who was found dead outside a state warehouse. Police said another employee arriving at work Thursday morning discovered the man's body. The man, whose name was not immediately released, suffered injuries to his torso, police said. "We are saddened and shocked by this senseless act of violence that took the life of one of our longtime employees," Transportation Secretary Rhonda Faught said in a statement issued Thursday. "Our prayers and thoughts are with the employee's family and friends during this difficult period."


Worker crushed at bridge site

Lansing, IL- Demolition workers will begin cutting through 40-ton iron bridge support beams Saturday in an effort to recover the remains of a construction worker killed Friday on Illinois Highway 394 in Lansing. Daniel Lopez, of Munster, Ind., was trapped when a section of ramp being built to connect the Bishop Ford Expressway to Interstate Highway 80/294 collapsed about 5 p.m., said Mike Claffey, spokesman for the Illinois Department of transportation. Construction workers had spent the week attaching five massive iron girders, each 9 feet high and weighing up to 40 tons, to two large concrete piers of the overpass, said Claffey.


MOWING MISHAP KILLS BOYNTON LANDSCAPER

Palm Beach, FL -- For years Maxo Pierre worked with his wife, Marie, to build a family-run grocery business even as he worked part time for others as a landscaper. And he saved his money so that he could buy his own landscaping business.

Only two months after Pierre fulfilled that ambition, his Boynton Beach family was tending to funeral arrangements on Sunday after he was killed on the job.

According to Boca Raton police, Pierre, 49, was cutting grass Saturday morning in a gated community called The Seasons when the riding mower he was driving overturned on the slope to a lake.

Pinned in the water under the machine, Pierre was unconscious when pulled from the water by paramedics and his son Max, who was working away from the lake and was unaware of the accident until the emergency crew arrived. Pierre was pronounced dead at Delray Medical Center.


2 killed, 2 hurt as dump truck strikes building

MIDDLESBORO, Ky. -- Two workers were killed and two were injured yesterday when a truck rolled into a building at a Bell County coal operation. Suzy Bohnert, spokeswoman for the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, said the accident occurred at a coal-washing plant owned by the Bell County Coal Corp. about three miles west of Middlesboro. She said a parked dump truck suddenly rolled down a hill and demolished a building. Oliver Beve Gregory, 51, of Pineville, and Donald J. Slusher, 56, of Hinkle, were killed when the 1988 Mack truck slammed into the building, according to state police.


Man Dies In Detroit Trench Collapse-Victim's Father Hospitalized In Temporary Serious Condition

DETROIT, MI -- A 24-year-old man has died after being pulled from a trench that collapsed on him on Detroit's west side. Daniel Howard was buried up to his chest for about six hours after the 1 p.m. accident. Authorities said he had no vital signs for several hours afterward. His father, Ken Howard, was removed from the trench shortly after the accident. He's hospitalized Friday night in temporary serious condition.

The men reportedly were replacing a sewer line in a trench about 8 to 10 feet deep. A homeowner said her basement had flooded and she called the private contractors for repairs, WDIV reported.


Farmer dies after truck rolls in pond

Mobile, AL- A farm accident apparently contributed to the death of a Powell man Thursday. Waylon Hunter, 67 of Powell, died Thursday afternoon after apparently suffering a heart attack after the quarter-ton dump truck he had been operating rolled over into a pond. The accident happened around 10:30 a.m. at Hunter’s farm on county road 158, according to Powell Police Chief Charles Centers.


Heat May Have Played A Role In Death

ARDMORE, Okla. -- State and federal investigators don't know what caused the death of an employee at an Ardmore warehouse, but heat may be a factor.

The man, whose name and hometown weren't released, worked at the Dollar General Corp. distribution center but was an employee of a temporary agency contracted by Dollar General.

The 43-year-old was taken to Mercy Memorial Health Center, where he died Aug. 13.

The cause and manner of death are pending, and a possible connection to heat hasn't been ruled out, said Kevin Rowland, chief investigator for the state medical examiner. Toxicology tests are being done.


Worker dies in 10-story plunge at Phoenix Civic Plaza

PHOENIX, AZ - An ironworker at the Phoenix Civic Plaza construction site plunged more than 100 feet to his death Monday, prompting officials to halt work for the day. Authorities did not release the worker's name.(The worker's name was Peter Joseph Martinez of Florence) Details about the late morning accident were hard to come by Monday. Phoenix public information officials referred all media calls to Hunt-Russell-Alvarado, the company managing the $600 million city project. And Hunt officials declined to talk about the circumstances under which the worker fell - including whether he was wearing a safety harness - and said only that there was an incident that resulted in a "tragic loss of life." (More here.)


Roof collapse kills worker

JOLIVUE, VA — A roof collapse of a building under construction at the Victory Worship Center on Hammond Lane left a North Carolina man dead and two injured Monday night. The Augusta County Sheriff's office cannot release the name of the deceased until his family has been notified. Five men were at the site putting up trusses on a new sanctuary for the center when a set of between 35 and 40 trusses collapsed, striking three men. One man was hit in the head and killed, and the two others were injured, said Augusta County Fire Capt. Alivin Mace.


Motive sought in slayings of Wal-Mart workers

Glendale, AZ -- A northwest Valley man seething with anger turned a Wal-Mart Supercenter parking lot into a shooting gallery Tuesday, police said, leaving two store employees dead and investigators stumped for a motive.

"He just went crazy," said Chuck O'Leary, 26, of Peoria, whose wife, Kara, 28, witnessed part of the mayhem as she walked into the store shortly after 1 p.m. "She said the guy just went ballistic and starting firing off shots."

The suspect, identified by police as Ed Liu, 53, was tracked to a nearby retirement community and arrested a few hours later.

Dead at the scene of the fusillade were Anthony Spangler, 18, and Patrick Graham, 36. Both Glendale men were collecting grocery carts in the parking lot near 83rd Avenue and Union Hills Drive when, according to police, Liu drove into the parking lot and angrily pumped them full of bullets without any known motive. Witnesses said one of the men appeared to have tried to crawl under a car for protection before being shot.


West Contra Costa School District employee dies in shooting

RICHMOND, Calif. - Richmond police say a school district employee was shot and killed after he tried to stop a teenage boy from beating up his pregnant girlfriend. Investigators say Terence Martin died yesterday after the 17-year-old he was trying to stop from beating the girl, pulled out a handgun and shot him. The 40-year-old Martin was an employee of the West Contra Costa School District. Police say he died late yesterday afternoon at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.


Worker dies in fall down elevator shaft

MARYVILLE, Tenn. - Authorities in Maryville say a construction worker fell to his death down an elevator shaft. The man was part of a crew installing an elevator at Blount (BLUHNT') Memorial Hospital when he fell several floors, then a heavy pulley fell onto him. The worker was brought to the hospital's emergency room, then transferred to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where he died. The victim's name wasn't immediately released after the accident yesterday.


Worker dies after fall from old Charleston bridge

CHARLESTON, S.C. - A worker helping to demolish an old bridge across the Cooper River died from injuries sustained in a fall when part of the structure collapsed, the Charleston County coroner's office said Wednesday. Chris Wareham, 28, of New Hampshire died Tuesday when he fell along with part of the Silas N. Pearman Bridge that is being dismantled, said chief deputy coroner Rae Wooten.


Truck driver killed in fiery three-vehicle wreck

DECATUR, Ala.--Authorities have not been able to identify a truck driver who was killed in a three-vehicle wreck that went ablaze on Alabama 20.

Morgan County authorities said the man, who was pronounced dead at 9:40 p.m. Monday, was severely burned and hope to identify him through medical or dental records.

The other two drivers survived.

According to witness reports, the unidentified driver was driving an eastbound red truck owned by U.S. Xpress Leasing Inc. of Oklahoma City, Okla., which veered into the oncoming lane and skidded, colliding with a westbound white truck.


Wellman Inc. worker dies after being electrocuted

Johnsonville, SC- A Coward resident died Tuesday morning after he was electrocuted at his job at Wellman Inc. in Johnsonville. Waymond Roger Haselden, 56, of Old Georgetown Road died just after midnight, Florence County Coroner M.G. "Bubba" Matthews said. EMS personnel responded to a call at Wellman about 10:10 p.m. Monday night and took Haselden to a local hospital, where they continued life-saving measures, Matthews said.


Woman crushed to death in worksite accident

Oceanside, NY- A Whitestone woman died after being crushed under the massive tires of a 15-ton construction machine outside the counseling center where she worked in Oceanside, Nassau police said Tuesday. Lauren Ludwig, 53, assistant director of the South Nassau Communities Hospital Counseling Center, was accidentally struck by the orange front-end loader about 11:30 a.m. Monday, police said.


Man killed setting up at State Fair

Aubrun, NY- A worker setting up for the New York State Fair was killed Tuesday when a ride he was helping set up fell and crushed him. State police in North Syracuse said Eric M. Frigin, 29, of Orlando, Fla., was assisting with setting up The Enterprise ride on the west end of the midway at about 3 p.m. when he crawled under the ride to place wooden blocks to stabilize it. The ride shifted and slipped off the stabilizing blocks, onto Frigin's chest. He was transported to Upstate Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The State Police and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are continuing their investigations. Frigin was an employee of the James E Strates Shows.


Worker Dies from Heat-Related Illness

Auburn, GA- Lee County Coroner Bill Harris says a heat-related illness is blamed in the death of a Georgia man who collapsed at a rock quarry near Auburn. 32-year-old Stephen Eric Horne of Gray, Georgia, told co-workers Wednesday morning that he wasn't feeling well after working all night. He was found unconscious a short time later.


Grain elevator worker dies in train accident

UNION CITY, Tenn. A grain company worker in Union City was killed when he fell from a rail car and was run over by its wheels. Forty-three-year-old Jose Luis Molina of Union City died in the accident Tuesday when he fell as the rail car was being moved with a front-end loader by fellow employees of Union City Grain Company. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

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by Jordan Barab, November 9, 2004


Acts of God, Acts of Man," by Jordan Barab, Working USA

Lies, Partisanship Caused Ergo Standard to Crumble, by Jordan Barab, Safety + Health, February 2002

A Week of Death, by Jordan Barab, Hazards, February 5, 2003

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