Sunday, September 17, 2006

Weekly Toll: Death In The American Workplace

A partial list of American workers killed in the workplace over the past few weeks.

Attendant dies after struggle with maximum security patient

CHATTAHOOCHEE, Fla. - An attendant at the state's largest mental hospital collapsed and died after a struggle with a patient in the facility's unit for the criminally insane, authorities said. James Smith, 52, of Gretna, apparently died from a heart attack Thursday night after coming to the aid of a co-worker, authorities said. Smith had worked at Florida State Hospital for more than 32 years. The name of the patient was not released due to state privacy laws. Smith, whose nickname was "Bear," broke up an altercation Thursday between the patient and a fellow employee in a maximum security unit reserved for treatment of patients found incompetent to stand trail, said Erin Geraghty, a spokeswoman with the Department of Children & Families. The other employee suffered minor injuries.

Police officer killed in struggle

BRIER, WA – A 28-year-old police officer died in a struggle while answering an aid call in Snohomish County, and a 55-year-old man – apparently the former mayor of Brier – was arrested, authorities said.

The officer, who had been on the force less than a year, responded to an aid call for a medical emergency at a house Tuesday afternoon, then used his radio to request assistance, Everett police officer Boyd Bryant said.

The officer had lost consciousness and stopped breathing by the time other law enforcement personnel arrived. He was later pronounced dead at Stevens Memorial Hospital in Edmonds.

Polk County workers killed in plane crash

Fort Meade, FL -- Two Polk County mosquito-control employees were killed Thursday night when their county airplane crashed in a remote area in Fort Meade, a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said. The twin-engine airplane crashed for unknown reasons in a phosphate-mine pit about 8 p.m. off Parrish Road and U.S. Highway 98, east of Fort Meade Peace River Park, spokeswoman Carrie Rodgers said. The crash caused a small brush fire, which was extinguished by 8:45 p.m. The plane had been spraying pesticide in the area when it crashed, Rodgers said. The county's Natural Resources Division runs the mosquito-spraying effort, which combats mosquito-borne diseases. It has one plane that is used to reach sparsely populated areas, a county Web site says.

1 company reopens; other to return soon

AUSTINTOWN, OH — One business in a building that was closed after an industrial accident has reopened on a limited basis, and another is close to renewing its operations. Penn Ohio Logistics and Kundel Industries, which share the building on Henricks Road, are being allowed back in on partial occupancy permits, said Andrew Frost III, Austintown's assistant fire chief, and Jeff Uroseva, Mahoning County chief building official. The Aug. 29 accident at Penn Ohio critically injured two men when a concrete mezzanine deck loaded with tons of steel collapsed, trapping one and partly trapping the other. One man, Raymond Queen, 39, died two days later. The other, Lawrence Boatwright, 46, remained in critical condition Thursday at St. Elizabeth Health Center.

Road worker killed on I-65 in Bullitt

Shepherdsville, KY - A highway worker was killed early yesterday when he was struck by a construction truck at a work site on Interstate 65 near Shepherdsville, Ky., according to Bullitt County officials. Bullitt County Deputy Coroner Morris Proffitt identified the victim as Daniel Barclay, 31, of Clarkson, Ky. He died of multiple injuries at the scene about 2 a.m., Proffitt said. Barclay was struck by a Ford Explorer in a northbound lane blocked off from regular traffic by construction barrels, said Sgt. Ken Bernardi of the Shepherdsville police. The truck was not speeding and it "appears it was an accident, pure and simple," Bernardi said.

Cargo worker crushed at O'Hare Airport

CHICAGO, IL -- A cargo worker was crushed to death at O'Hare International Airport Tuesday night, according to airport officials. The accident happened around 10:30 p.m. when the worker, who was standing on the ground was caught between a forklift carrying a loaded pallet and the back of a truck, according to Wendy Abrams, a city Department of Aviation spokeswoman. John Keane, 38, of Chicago, was taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. He was pronounced dead a short time after his arrival, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. The accident took place in a cargo area on airport property leased to shipping company DHL, Abrams said.

Opelika workman falls to his death

Opelika, AL - An Opelika, Ala., man fell about 40 feet to his death Wednesday while removing a tree from a residence, said Lee County Coroner Bill Harris. Eddie Bulger, 52, was attempting to rappel down a tree he was working on at a home on East Collinwood Circle when he fell around 7 p.m., Harris said. Bulger worked for E.W. Tree LLC, Opelika Police Capt. Alan Elkins said. After he fell, Bulger's co-workers performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived to transport him to East Alabama Medical Center. Bulger died of multiple blunt force chest injuries in the hospital's emergency room about 40 minutes later, Harris said. Harris said Bulger did have a safety harness on, but did not have the safety strap around the tree. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been called in to investigate the death, an OSHA media representative said Thursday evening.

Man dies in Georgetown molasses tank

GEORGETOWN, KY - No bullet, no pill or sudden, violent crash on the highway killed Vernon Schmidt. The cause of the 56-year-old truck driver's death was more subtle: A lack of oxygen inside a molasses storage tank. Schmidt, from Illinois, was in Georgetown to deliver molasses to the G.M. Taylor Seed Co. He was found unresponsive about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday on a platform inside an underground storage tank holding thousands of pounds of molasses and was removed from life support Wednesday night at St. Joseph's Hospital in Lexington. The fermenting molasses is mixed with horse feed to give the grain a sweeter taste. The fermentation in the enclosed pit also creates ethyl alcohol vapors that deprive the space of oxygen, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Web site. Sewers or vaults with decaying organic material are other examples of where gases can form and displace oxygen.


Watsonville, CA - A man who died Wednesday morning while working at a mushroom farm in Watsonville has been identified as Erik Ramos-Zapeda, 29, of Watsonville, the Santa Cruz County coroner's office reported today. Sgt. Larry Roland said Ramos-Zapeda appears to have electrocuted himself when he accidentally hit a power source with a pitchfork he was using to pile compost at Ariel Mushroom Farm. Sheriff's deputies were called to the farm located at 930 Freedom Blvd. around 10:03 a.m. Roland said Ramos-Zapeda was an employee at the farm. A woman who answered the phone at the farm said no one was available to comment today.

Driver in fatal semi crash identified

ROCHESTER, IA - The Iowa State Patrol has identified the semi-trailer truck driver killed in a fiery crash south of here along the Cedar River on Interstate 80 Friday. Eric D. Baldwin, 34, of Milwaukee, Wis., was pronounced dead at the scene by the Cedar County medical examiner's office. Troopers say Baldwin impacted a guard rail, collided head-on with the Cedar River bridge abutment and then slid down the guard rail approximately 200 feet. The cab of the truck came to rest on the bridge deck and caught fire, authorities said. The truck's trailer then fell into the Cedar River. The eastbound lanes of I-80 were closed for more than four hours. The crash site is about 20 miles east of Iowa City. Baldwin was operating a truck for Schneider National Carriers out of Green Bay, Wis.

Patient Admits Killing Psychiatrist

Bethesda, MD -- A 19-year-old North Potomac man told detectives that he killed a psychiatrist with his fists during a hastily arranged appointment Sunday in which they discussed the man's treatment for schizophrenia, according to Montgomery County police.

Police charged the patient, Vitali A. Davydov, with first-degree murder yesterday in the killing of Wayne S. Fenton, 53, a prominent psychiatrist who served as associate director of the National Institute of Mental Health. He maintained a private practice in Bethesda, treating severely mentally ill patients mostly on weekday evenings and weekends.

Brier officer dies in struggle with combative man

BRIER, Wash. Police are investigating how a 28-year-old officer died in a struggle with a 55-year-old man in the Snohomish County town of Brier. A spokesman, Sergeant Boyd Bryant of the Everett department, says the Brier officer was called to a home yesterday afternoon to help a man with a medical condition who had become combative. The officer radioed for help and when other officers arrived they found him down in the house. He could not be revived and died at Steven Hospital in Edmonds.

Linn REC worker dies in accident

LISBON, Iowa -- A worker for the Linn Rural Electrical Cooperative has died from injuries suffered when he was hit by an electrical pole. Officials say Allen Feickert of Marion was trying to remove the pole when it broke off. The accident happened near Lisbon on Tuesday. He died on Wednesday. Johnson County's medical examiner ruled Feickert's death accidental, caused by blunt force trauma to the head.

Woman dies after falling off tractor, being run over by cutter

METROPOLIS, Ill. - A 53-year-old woman near this southern Illinois community was killed when she fell from a tractor and into the path of a rotary cutter operated by her husband. Massac County Coroner Steven Farmer said Marla Turner died at the scene of the accident about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, a day before she and her husband were to have celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary. The couple's daughter is to be married next Tuesday. Authorities say Turner was riding on the fender of her husband's tractor when the fender gave way, causing her to tumble backward to the ground. Farmer, a friend of the Turners for three decades, said Marla Turner often rode on the back of the tractor as the couple enjoyed spending time together. "It gave them peace and a sort of tranquility," Farmer told the Paducah (Ky.) Sun for a story Friday. But years of use loosened the fender's brackets, Farmer said

Longtime Wyandotte County Worker Dies, Don Denney Fell Ill At Work

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The man who served as the voice of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County has died. Don Denney, 54, served as the media relations specialist for the Unified Government. Officials said he fell ill at work on Friday and later died at a hospital. Denney also served as the announcer for Bishop Ward High School athletic events for the last 25 years. KMBC's Martin Augustine reported that Denney lived in Wyandotte County his whole life. He was born in the old St. Margaret's Hospital, grew up in the Strawberry Hill neighborhood and he never left it. He graduated from Bishop Ward in 1970.

Dead worker's employer didn't seek permits

FAIRHAVEN, MA — The employer of the construction worker who was killed Wednesday while siding a Benoit Square building never obtained permits for the work, a town official said yesterday. Meanwhile, police identified the two victims of the incident, which involved a piece of siding striking a power line. The Bristol County District Attorney's Office said it is considering criminal charges against their employer, MT Construction of Brockton. MT was finishing siding work at 3441/2 Main St. that was started by a previous contractor, Fairhaven Building Commissioner Wayne Fostin said. Mr. Fostin said there is no record of MT working in the town. The company "never came to see me to pull proper permits," Mr. Fostin said. Efforts to find telephone numbers for MT or the man identified by officials as the owner, Manuel Tenezaca, were unsuccessful. The owner of the building is listed as St. Gelais Fairhaven Family Limited Partnership. Konrad St. Gelais, described by a town official as a partnership member, would not comment yesterday. On the day of the incident, the state medical examiner investigated the scene, as did officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration....Angel Caguana, 42, died in the accident.

State hospital worker dies after saving coworker

Gretna, FL - An attendant at the state's large mental hospital collapsed and died after rescuing a coworker who was being attacked by a patient in a section of the institution where criminally insane offenders are held, the state said. James Smith, 52, of Gretna apparently suffered a heart attack. He was a "unit treatment and rehabilitation" worker at Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee for more than 32 years, the Department of Children and Families said.

Construction worker dies in accident

Upper Allen, PA - A worker died in an construction site accident Wednesday at the Gettysburg Pike interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Upper Allen Township. Thomas Price, 45, of South Heights, Pa., was setting pipe lines in a ditch around 3:30 p.m. when a track-hoe bucket fell on him, according to the Cumberland County coroner’s office. State police at Carlisle say he was pronounced dead at the scene. Pennsylvania State Police and the coroner’s office are continuing the investigation. An autopsy has been ordered. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was at the scene, the coroner’s report says.

Plant supervisor dies after 10-foot fall from catwalk

NORTH ANSON, ME -- The production manager at Cousineau Wood Products Inc. fell to his death Wednesday at the Valley Road mill while attempting to dislodge a wood jam in a conveyor belt, according to a Somerset County deputy sheriff. Monte Jackson, 53, of Avon Valley Road in Avon died from a head injury after falling onto a concrete floor about 10 feet below. The 12:30 p.m. accident was witnessed by a number of employees, said Deputy Gene Cole.

Martinsville employee dies while installing electrical line

Martinsville, VA - A 19-year Martinsville city employee died Thursday morning while installing an electrical line in Henry County, Martinsville officials said. Mike Wilson, 45, died just after 9:30 a.m. at Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County. An autopsy is expected to determine whether he died of natural causes or a work-related injury. Rhonda Wilson, Mike Wilson's widow, said he did not have any medical problems. Wilson and another employee were installing an overhead wire to a building at the Martinsville Wastewater Treatment Plant on Wind Dancer Lane.

SoCal Man Killed After Falling Into Drilling Shaft

LOS ANGELES, CA -- A building inspector who fell down a 50-foot-deep shaft at a Southern California drilling site was pronounced dead Wednesday afternoon. Neighbors said the worker was inspecting drainage in the area when he was hit by equipment. The worker fell 43 feet into the shaft. "There were some safety issues for the rescuers regarding the safety and stability of the hole," said fire Capt. Mark Savage. Savage said a crewmember was tethered to a safety device and lowered into the shaft. He said the inspector was pronounced dead at the scene.

Worker dies six months after high voltage shock

Cape Coral, FL - Ken Heller, 48, was shocked on March 1st when the concrete pumping equipment he was operating hit a power line. Heller was known in the community for regularly challenging his status as a registered sex offender in the State of Florida. One of his last legal battles was a lawsuit against the City of Cape Coral. Heller believed the city's new law banning sex offenders from being within 2,500 feet of a school was too strict. Now that Heller is dead, a judge could decide to throw out the lawsuit.

Cab Driver Killed at MARTA Station Near Avondale Estates

AVONDALE ESTATES, GA -- DeKalb County and MARTA police are still looking for a suspect in the shooting death of a cab driver at a rapid transit station. Authorities identify the driver for Rapid Taxi as 45-year-old Berhanu Yassin. Police say Yassin was talking with a patron around 1:30 a-m yesterday at the Kensington station of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority when a man approached the cab and fired one shot into the cab, just outside the station's entrance. Authorities are unclear what the man's motive was. Police say NO money was taken from the cab driver.

Derailment kills White Pass employee, injures three

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A heavy equipment operator died when a White Pass & Yukon Railroad engine derailed north of Skagway and was partially crushed. Bruce Harder, 45, of Carcross, Yukon Territory, was pronounced dead Sunday at the scene, said Gary Danielson, president of the railroad. Three other men onboard the gravel train were injured, Danielson said. A second heavy-equipment operator, Neil Plested of Carcross, was treated at a hospital and released. Engineer Jeff Ruff of Skagway remains hospitalized in Whitehorse, Yukon. Conductor Lee Hartson Jr. of Skagway was taken to a hospital in Whitehorse and later moved to Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage.

Suspect in killings has criminal record

Columbia, SC - Columbia man was convicted of drug, firearm and assault and battery charges. A man accused of killing two co-workers Sunday during a robbery at a Wendy’s restaurant has an arrest record dating back 10 years. North Carolina-based Tar Heel Capital Corp., which owns the Wendy’s at 7355 Two Notch Road, is re-evaluating its policy of only requiring background checks for managers, said chief executive officer Jim Furman. “In light of a tragedy like this, we’re reviewing all policies and procedures ... of the hiring process,” he said. John Henry Portee, 27, of Center Street, is charged with one count of armed robbery and two counts of murder in the shooting deaths of Carlaus Eugenia Johnson, 53, and Latora Michelle Bolton, 29. Furman declined to discuss Portee’s employment history, citing the ongoing investigation.

Man killed at Georgetown Sewer Plant

GEORGETOWN, OH - The investigation continues into the death of an employee of the Georgetown Waste Water Treatment Plant who allegedly drowned in a 600,000-gallon sewage vat early Monday morning. The drowning victim has been identified as Robert J. Creamer, 25, a sewer plant worker who lived near Russellville. According to the Georgetown Police Department, Creamer was in the process of taking liquid samples from a large, open concrete tank early Monday morning. For some reason, unknown at this point in time, Creamer fell into the tank and drowned. Based upon log entries at the sewer plant, it is believed that the drowning took place around 6 a.m., Monday, Sept. 4. Based on the evidence located at the plant, it was determined the probable location of Creamer would have been in Clarifier One in the sewer plant.

Pilot flying solo killed in plane crash

WOOSTER, Ohio An 80-year-old pilot flying solo from Burlington, Vermont, to Los Angeles was killed this afternoon when his small plane crashed in a northeast Ohio field near Wooster. The State Highway Patrol says the plane owned and piloted by Winston Niver of Los Angeles may have run out of fuel. A farmer told troopers he saw the plane, with the propeller idle, nose-dive into a cornfield.

Oregon OSHA investigates fatal industrial accident in Tualatin

TUALATIN, OR –The company has no previous record of OSHA violations. A fatal accident that claimed the life of one VWR International employee Friday is under investigation by Oregon’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration. Lynn D. Webb, 41, of Portland, reportedly died Friday afternoon after being crushed between a storage unit and a picker machine, similar to a forklift, said Oregon OSHA spokesman Kevin Weeks. The accident occurred around 3:40 p.m. at the company’s Tualatin Road industrial building. Tualatin police and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue responded to a 911 call at the site. The Washington County 911 call center notified Oregon OSHA following the emergency response to the accident, Weeks said.

Second Man Arrested In Death Of Hero Sanitation Worker

NEW YORK, NY -- A second man has been arrested in connection with a gun battle that killed a sanitation worker who once helped save a 4-year-old girl from a burning building. Police said Omar Benn, 27, was arrested Wednesday night and charged with criminal possession of a weapon. Police said 23-year-old Anthony Williams -- who was wounded in the left arm and buttocks in the gunfire -- has been charged with firing the shot that killed 33-year-old Damon Allen. Witnesses told police that Williams had robbed someone of a wallet, been chased away and returned to the Crown Heights neighborhood with a gun around 1:30 a.m. Monday. Witnesses told police that Allen tried to calm him and clear bystanders from the area when he was shot.

Three Teens Arrested In Restaurant Worker's Death

Mariners Harbor, NY - Three teens have been charged with robbery and criminal possession of stolen property in connection with the beating death of a Staten Island man. Police arrested John Messiha, Daniel Betancourt and Travis King Sunday. Ricardo Salinas was beaten unconscious Saturday night as he came home from his job at the IHOP in Mariners Harbor, where he worked as head cook. Fifteen minutes after police arrived on the scene, Salinas died. A makeshift memorial was set up on the spot where his body was found. "Every one of us, loved him so much," said IHOP owner Jhong Uhk Kim. "And, not only our employees, but also the customers. They are totally shocked. We don't know how we are going to cope without him."

TL carrier killed in crash on the job

KINGSTON, PA – Kevin Church is killed after his van, which was rear-ended, hits him. A 47-year-old West Wyoming man was killed early Sunday morning while delivering Times Leader newspapers, according to Kingston police. Kevin Carl Church died instantly in a crash at about 5 a.m. at Wyoming Avenue and Church Street, said Kingston police Chief Keith Keiper. He is survived by his wife and teenage daughter. Church was run over by his van after another motorist hit the van from behind while Church was in front of it, according to Luzerne County Coroner Dr. Jack Consalvo. “He was pinned against the curb, in such a way that his head was pinned against his chest,” Consalvo said, which possibly could have cut off his air or blood supply.

RICHMOND Worker killed when engine falls on him

San Francisco, CA - An Oakland man was crushed to death Friday when a truck engine fell on him in an auto shop in north Richmond, authorities said. Irvin Pescador, 18, was working at AP Trucking on West Gertrude Avenue a little before 3 p.m. Friday, when he needed to drain the oil from a truck engine, said Sgt. Brad Harms of the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department. Pescador and a co-worker decided to lift the engine off the ground with a forklift, Harms said. Pescador and the co-worker wrapped chains around the engine and looped the chains over the forklift, then raised the forklift. While his co-worker left to find an oil pan, Pescador got under the engine to remove lug nuts. The engine started to sway and slowly slipped forward on the tips of the forklift, causing the forklift to pitch forward. The engine dropped onto Pescador's chest and abdomen, and crushed him, Harms said.

2 skydivers killed as chute fails

Philadelphia, PA -They hit power lines, snapping utility poles, before they crashed just before noon across from the Washington Township Home Depot.

A beginning skydiver and an experienced instructor connected by a harness crashed to their deaths yesterday in Gloucester County after their parachute malfunctioned, police said. After the main chute failed to open, the reserve deployed but not soon enough to catch air and open, witnesses and police said. The divers hit power lines, snapping wooden supports from the tops of two utility poles, before landing just before noon in the front yard of a home across from the Home Depot in Washington Township.

New Jersey Firefighter Killed

Lyndhurst, NJ-Firefighter Vincent Neglia, 45, of Lyndhurst, N.J., charged into the building to search for victims, officials said, and was apparently knocked down by a backdraft, a sudden rush of fire that bursts out when a door is opened or a wall collapses and a supply of fresh oxygen fuels the flames. Chief Brion McEldowney, of the North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue Department, said two other firefighters, responding to a radioed distress signal, went into the building after Firefighter Neglia and found him in an apartment on the second floor. Jeff Welz, the director of the North Hudson department, said Firefighter Neglia’s face mask, for breathing in heavy smoke, had been blown or knocked off his face, apparently by the intensity of the fire that hit him. He was carried to the street, where medics tried to revive him, and taken to St. Mary Hospital in Hoboken, where he was pronounced dead.

Worker dies in fall at construction site

SAN MARCOS, CA – A man installing overhead cable fell to his death off a 25-foot lift at a strip mall under construction on South Las Posas Road and Via Vera Cruz yesterday. Richard Michael Salazar, 24, of La Mirada suffered head injuries after falling from the scissor lift, said a Medical Examiner's Office investigator. It was unclear what caused the fall.

Trucker killed in accident

West Point,GA -Tommy Moss, 55, of West Point, Ga., died early Thursday morning after an empty tour bus rear-ended his 18-wheeler while traveling northbound on Interstate 85, causing him to lose control of the vehicle. Both lanes of traffic were blocked for hours following the accident, severely impeding the morning commute. The state Department of Transportation will be directing traffic today for approximately two hours starting at 10 a.m. while all but one lane of I-85 northbound is shut down between mile markers 42 and 46 for police to resume investigations. Police plan to reconstruct the accident to determine whether the driver of the tour bus, 38-year-old Sean Crosland of Lithonia, Ga., will be charged with felony vehicular homicide or a misdemeanor vehicular homicide, according to Sgt. John LaChance of the Coweta County Sheriff's Office.

Polk County workers killed in plane crash

Fort Meade, FL -- Two Polk County mosquito-control employees were killed Thursday night when their county airplane crashed in a remote area in Fort Meade, a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said.

The twin-engine airplane crashed for unknown reasons in a phosphate-mine pit about 8 p.m. off Parrish Road and U.S. Highway 98, east of Fort Meade Peace River Park, spokeswoman Carrie Rodgers said.

The crash caused a small brush fire, which was extinguished by 8:45 p.m. The plane had been spraying pesticide in the area when it crashed, Rodgers said.

Worker Killed in Construction Accident

Jackson, MS -- A construction worker is dead after what's being called a freak accident. It happened just before noon on Cubby Run Drive in the Lake Caroline subdivision in Madison County. According to investigators, a boom truck overturned at the construction site killing the worker instantly. Right now Osha, the sheriff's department, and Emergency Management are looking into what happened. The victim has not been identified.

OSHA probes cause of fatal fall

Rock Hill, SC -- Workplace safety investigators and family members spent Friday trying to figure out what happened to Lancaster's Wade Henry Dowling, the 51-year-old seasoned welder who fell to his death while working on a new wellness center at Winthrop University.

Dowling's son, Brad Walker, said he was working about a foot from his father on the roof of the Lois Rhame West Center when he saw his father lose his balance and fall around 25 feet to the next concrete level.

Walker said he doesn't know what happened. His father was wearing a safety harness, but Walker said he doesn't know if the lanyard that hooks on the back of the harness was properly fastened.

Dowling was a foreman for a welding subcontractor, Capitol City Erectors. The company is a South Carolina subcontractor to Macuch Steel, a Georgia subcontractor of DeVere Construction in Michigan.

Worker dies after fall at school

VERMILION, OH — A Vermilion Schools electrician died Friday morning after an electric shock jolted him off a light pole he was working on and sent him plummeting 20 feet to his death, Vermilion police said.

John Smith, 51, died shortly after 10 a.m. from blunt trauma to the head after falling about 20 feet off a light pole in the Vermilion High School stadium, said Erie County Coroner Brian Baxter.

“He basically died from the fall,” Baxter said. “The electrocution itself probably would have killed him, but we don’t know for sure. I think the fall and massive head trauma caused immediate death.” While the coroner’s official autopsy results are still pending, police say Smith — a licensed electrician — was repairing a loudspeaker that was fixed to the light pole when he got shocked.

“He was in the process of trying to adjust it or fix it,” said Vermilion police Chief Bob Kish. “We don’t know 100 percent, but he must have somehow accidentally touched a transformer.”

Concrete pumping truck tips over, kills contractor

A self-employed contractor was killed Friday morning while working on a house foundation at Lake Caroline. A concrete pumping truck fell over bringing the boom on top of the unidentified worker.

The worker was found pinned under the boom, used to pump concrete out into the middle of the foundation, still on his knees facing away from the truck, authorities said.

Police Investigate Fatal Stabbing At Boston Hotel

BOSTON, Ma -- A cook is charged with murder in the fatal stabbing of a co-worker in a seafood restaurant inside the Westin Copley hotel in Boston.

Police said the co-worker was stabbed by 37-year-old Ivan Sosa within an employee area at the Turner Fisheries restaurant late Friday afternoon.

800-pound pipe falls, kills worker at Tulsa plant

Tulsa, OK -- Authorities say a worker at a bus manufacturing plant in Tulsa, Okla., died September 13 when an 800-pound pipe fell on him.

I-C Oklahoma human resources director Red Smith said the 28-year-old man was from out of state and was working for an independent contractor. The accident victim’s name has not been released. I-C Oklahoma, also known as American Transportation, is a subsidiary of Chicago-based International Truck and Engine Corporation.

The victim was in a construction area on the plant's west side when a steel pipe measuring three to four feet in diameter and 20 to 25 feet long that was suspended by a crane landed on him about 1:15 p.m.

Dania man dies in two-floor fall

Fort Lauderdale, FL -- A Dania Beach man dropped to his death Wednesday in one of several fall-related accidents that jolted construction workers across Broward County.

Michael Verneos, 56, fell two stories from a Sunrise condominium shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday, according to police. The Artesia condo is under construction at North Flamingo Road and Oakland Park Boulevard.

Verneos, who worked for Daniel-Joseph Construction in Dania Beach, died soon after at Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, police said.

Collapse of sewer trench kills construction worker

Minneapolis, MN -- A construction worker (Paul Joseph Holasek, 32, of New Prague) died Wednesday when a dirt wall collapsed on him as he worked to repair a leaking sewer main near a new housing development in Scott County.

The man, who was about 30 and worked for K.A. Witt Construction of New Prague, was working in a 12-foot-deep hole when one wall caved in, said Michael Peterson, a spokesman for the Prior Lake Fire Department. Firefighters responded about 11 a.m. to a construction site near Dakota Avenue and Prairie Grass Pass in Credit River Township, Peterson said.

1 Dead, 1 Hurt In Electrical Accidents

BRADENTON, FL - A Tampa man was electrocuted and another man injured in separate incidents Wednesday in northern Manatee County.

A 23-year-old WilsonMiller Surveying employee died when he cut down a bamboo tree that fell on a power line, authorities said. Joseph Obryan of Tampa was part of a five-person WilsonMiller Surveying crew that was clearing land on Moccasin Wallow Road.

Obryan used a machete to chop down the bamboo, which struck a power line and a nearby barbed wire fence, police said. The accident occurred at about 10:15 a.m. Investigators think the bamboo may have acted as a conductor, sending electricity rippling onto a fence near where Obryan was standing.

Atascadero 17-year-old was installing rain gutter

Atascadero, CA -- The Atascadero teen electrocuted while installing a rain gutter at a storage facility near San Miguel has died.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Hascall said 17-year-old Corey Hawkins was electrocuted about 10:20 a.m. as he stood on a ladder installing rain gutters at the Mars Megastorage facility at 101 Wellsona Road, just south of San Miguel.

Plant fire victim dies from injuries

Columbia, SC -- A Columbia man injured in a fire at Intertape Polymer plant in July died Monday night.

Larry Boykin, 45, of Chilhowie Road, died at the John M. Still Burn Center in Augusta at 6:35 p.m. Monday, said Richland County Coroner Gary Watts.

Boykin was burned in a fire July 2 at the South Beltline plant that started as he poured toulene, used to remove glue from rollers, into a five-gallon metal bucket.

Wente Vineyard worker hit by machinery, dies

LIVERMORE, CA -- An employee of Wente Vineyards died after he was hit in the head by a piece of machinery Wednesday morning.

Luiz Fragoso, 33, and another employee were moving a heavy piece of equipment that is used to separate grape juice from the seeds, said Carolyn Wente, company president.

Fragoso, who was pulling the machine as his co-worker pushed, was hit in the head and fell, said Sgt. Scott Dudek of the Alameda County Sheriff's Department.

Memorial fund will send traffic victim back to Mexico

Hayward, CA -- A memorial fund has been set up for one of four construction workers who died going to work on Vasco Road in Contra Costa County.

The fund for Francisco Javier Salazar will help cover the cost of sending his body to his native Mexico. Salazar, 29, of Hayward and co-workers Sac-Manuel Lopez, 22, of Hayward, Lorenzo Ixtos, 24, and Juan Ixtos, 20, died Aug. 14 as they made their way to work in Contra Costa County. They worked for San Jose-based Wright One Construction.

Their car drifted across a double yellow line and was broadsided by a sport-utility vehicle, according to California Highway Patrol reports. The accident killed everyone in the Salazar car.

Injured worker dies

Cleveland, OH -- A Willoughby man injured when he fell Aug. 11 from a collapsed scaffold at Pepsi Cola Bottling in Twinsburg died Saturday at Akron City Hospital. Frank Perotti, 36, who was working for a construction company, suffered a severe head injury when he fell about six feet. The Cleveland office of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating.

Work-related accident kills Flandreau man

Sioux Fall, SD -- A Flandreau man died Friday morning in a work-related accident north of Sioux Falls, according to the Minnehaha County Sheriff's Department. Bryon J. Meier, 55, died at the scene, Sgt. Preston Evans said.

Meier was welding under a Caterpillar earth scraper near 84th Street North and 476th Avenue when the machine rolled forward and hit him, Evans said.

Dump truck backs over, kills construction worker in crouch

Tacoma, WA -- A construction worker was killed Wednesday after a dump truck drove over him at a paving project near Spanaway, a Pierce County sheriff's spokesman said.

The man, Cameron Kelley, 26, was crouched down marking the roadway in the 4700 block of 224th Street East about 12:40 p.m. when a dual-axle dump truck slowly backed over him, said sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer.

The truck's driver apparently didn't see Kelley, and the worker apparently did not see the truck, Troyer said. The driver won't be cited or face criminal charges, Troyer said. Investigators aren't sure if the truck's warning beeper sounded after the driver put the vehicle into reverse, he said.

New Details Into Fatal Accident At Wheeling-Pitt

Wheeling, WV -- William Druschel, 55, of Moundsville, died Sunday at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel’s Mingo Junction Plant.

According to company officials, Druschel was working in the Caster-360 bay of the plant at the time of the accident. A spokesperson said Druschel fell to his death while he was walking down a latter. We are told Druschel had a safety harness on, but it wasn’t hooked to anything at the time of the fall.

Martinsville City electrician dies on the job

Authorities are trying to figure out how a Martinsville City electrician died on the job. This morning 45-year-old Mike Wilson was using a cherry picker to install new electrical lines to a chemical building at the Martinsville water treatment plant.

That's when another electrician working below noticed Wilson was slumped over in the bucket. A preliminary report shows the lines Wilson was working on were not live at the time.

Chillicothe man killed Downtown when construction platform falls

Chillicothe, OH -- On a Downtown street bustling with the usual lunchtime crowd yesterday, Cindy Booker heard the scrape of falling metal. Then came the sound of impact, and, finally, the moans of a dying man.

"I couldn't understand what he was saying, but he was crying out in pain," Booker said. Jerry Rittenhouse Jr., 37, of Chillicothe, was killed at 1:05 p.m. when an outdoor elevator platform on which he was working fell several stories to the street below.

He worked for Waco Scaffolding & Equipment. Local company officials referred questions to a corporate office in Cleveland. A spokesman there could not be reached.

Sanitation worker dies on the job

A well-respected Sanitation Department veteran from Rossville died on the job yesterday on his household-collection route in Brooklyn.

Allen Gormely , 53, suffered a massive heart attack, Sanitation officials believe, and slumped over the wheel of the truck he was driving on Bay 46th Street in Brighton Beach.

Worker Killed in Fall Through Roof

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL -- A construction worker is dead after falling two stories through a roof. The man fell through a sky light on a maintenance building under renovation at the First Coast Technical Institute.

Emergency crews requested a helicopter but later canceled it due to the victim's condition. Crews took him by ambulance to Flagler Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead.

Helicopter crash kills 2 Edison employees

SOMIS, CA - Two Southern California Edison employees were killed Wednesday when their helicopter slammed into a power line and crashed to the ground, officials said.
The pilot, 41-year-old Benny Kleven of Temecula, and another employee, 48-year-old Keith King of Ojai, were inspecting high-tension lines in the hills above the gated community of Solano Verde Ranch about 1:55 p.m., when their Hughes 369D chopper struck the wires. The aircraft crashed near some horse trailers parked below, killing both men

Worker killed on Pa. Turnpike project

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. - A track-hoe bucket fell on a construction worker at a Pennsylvania Turnpike reconstruction site in Cumberland County, crushing him to death.

Thomas Price, 45, of South Heights in Beaver County, died around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday as he was working in a ditch on a pipeline project, the coroner said.

A turnpike spokesman said Price worked for W.G. Tomko Inc. of Finleyville, a plumbing subcontractor.

A final, colorful farewell to inspector

WEST COVINA, CA - Dale Torry chided anyone who wore a suit to Art Velasquez's funeral.

"To those of you who wore Hawaiian shirts, we thank you," said Torry, Velasquez's son-in-law, to the roughly 650 people in attendance at the ceremony Wednesday at Christ Community Church, many of them wearing the brightly patterned island attire. "For those of you in suits, Art would have laughed at you."

Torry's words echoed the dynamic personality of Velasquez, 63, who was killed after falling down a well last Wednesday at a Duarte construction site where he was working as a grading inspector.

City worker hit, killed on the job

Amarillo, TX -- An Amarillo city employee died after a reportedly drunken driver's vehicle struck him while he worked Monday night.

Juan Jose Arredondo, 51, of Amarillo suffered serious injuries when the vehicle struck him about 11 p.m. He later died at Northwest Texas Hospital, according to the Amarillo Police Department.

Worker Fatally Electrocuted, Another Injured In Accident

FAIRHAVEN, Mass. -- A worker who was installing aluminum siding onto a building in Fairhaven on Wednesday was fatally electrocuted, and another man was seriously injured.

Witnesses said a man installing aluminum siding on the third story of a building was electrocuted when a strip of siding came in contact with nearby utility wires.

Upstate SWAT Teams Join State Police In Fugitive Manhunt

FREDONIA, N.Y. -- SWAT teams from upstate New York cities have rallied to western New York, beefing up the manhunt for Ralph "Bucky" Phillips after the death of a trooper shot during the search, state police said Monday.

"They can certainly be mistaken for the wrong individual," Manning said of camouflaged hunters in the woods being scoured for Phillips, the prime suspect in Thursday's ambush of troopers Donald Baker Jr., 38, and Joseph Longobardo, 32, who died Sunday. Baker remained in serious condition Monday at Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pa., police said.

Newark Taxi Dispatcher Shot to Death

NEWARK, N.J. -- A man was shot in the offices of Ecuamerican Sedan Limo on Clifford Street in Newark around 9 o'clock last night. Rafael Caymayo was a dispatcher for the cab company nearing the end of his 2 to 10 p.m. shift, said driver Carlos Galea.

Galea said over his radio he heard a woman in the office screaming in Spanish for an ambulance. "I think I'm leaving this job myself," Galea said, saying the work has simply gotten too dangerous.

Ecuamerican is the company that lost two of its drivers, brothers Johnny and Edgar Infante, who were shot during a robbery in Sept. 2005. Caymayo is the 15th Newark cab employee killed since 1995. He is believed to be the first dispatcher killed.

Helicopter crash kills pilot, 24

Spokane, WA -- A Walla Walla pilot was killed Friday when his helicopter crashed during an aerial logging operation in northern Pend Oreille County.

Sheriff's deputies identified the pilot as 24-year-old Bret W. Ahler.

He was flying a Kaman K-600 helicopter owned by Horizon Helicopters of LeClede, Idaho, at a logging site on national forest land near Sullivan Lake, about 15 miles northeast of Ione, Wash.

Popular clerk slain at store

Houston, TX -- A popular southeast Houston convenience store clerk was shot and killed Monday afternoon in an apparent robbery, police said.

Customers found Hasan "Russell" Alam dead on the floor behind an open cash register about 4 p.m. at the Valero gas station at 11665 Fuqua.

Slaying at store in the Richmond

San Francisco, CA -- Jinsun "Lilly" Lee was known to people in San Francisco's Richmond District as a good-natured, hardworking Korean immigrant who kept her mini-market open late into the evening to cater to locals.

Saturday evening, someone shot the 54-year-old Lee, who was known as Lilly, and fled the New California Food Market that she had run with her husband for more than 10 years.

Farmer killed in tractor accident

LINDSAY Neb. -- The Platte County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of a 71-year-old Lindsay farmer in an accident on his property.

The man was working on a tractor in a machine shed when the tractor accidentally slipped into gear and ran over him sometime Monday night, authorities said Tuesday.

The name of the victim was being withheld pending notification of relatives.

Trucking company employee crushed to death

A 22-year-old employee of a Salt Lake City trucking company was crushed to death Thursday evening when he was pinned between the cab and the trailer of a tractor-trailer.

The man was moving trucks at Estes Express Line, 1900 South and Industrial Road, when he accidentally jack-knifed one of them, Salt Lake City Fire Department spokesman Scott Freitag said. The truck crushed the man after he got out to inspect the vehicle for damage and either failed to set the parking brake or put the truck into gear, Freitag said.

Gas station attendant shot to death; Armed robberies reported nearby

Paterson, NJ -- A service station attendant was shot and killed early Friday during an hour of mayhem in which there were four armed robberies within a one-mile radius, police said.

Gurbachan Singh, 48, was working the overnight shift at the Piramyd Gas station when he was shot three times about 2:40 a.m. Singh, a Queens resident, was found lying in a pool of blood and taken to St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson, where he later died, police said.


Gilbert, AZ -- A tree trimmer from Mesa died on Friday afternoon after he fell from a palm tree in the 1300 block of North Jamaica Way in Gilbert, about a half-mile south of Baseline Road.

Fred C. Ehrig Jr., 49, fell about 20 feet and hit his head on a metal power box on the ground about 3:30 p.m., said Lt. Joe Ruet, a spokesman for the Gilbert Police Department.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene, Ruet said. Ehrig had massive head injuries, Ruet added. Ehrig worked for Martin Landscaping Management of Mesa, police said.


Riverside, CA -- A 25-year-old unarmed security guard was shot to death early Monday as he patrolled a Moreno Valley elementary school campus recently targeted by graffiti taggers, authorities said.

A custodian found the body of Alton Paschal near his car at Box Springs Elementary School, where he had been assigned since last week. Officers said Paschal drove to the school quad and stepped out of his car when he was fatally shot. Sgt. Earl Quinata, spokesman for the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, said Paschal was shot more than once.

Spencer Koyle, 33, died Thursday in a wildfire east of Oak City.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT -- Firefighter Spencer Stanley Koyle was scouting the Devil's Den wildfire when the winds shifted and he was overtaken by the blaze and killed, according to investigators' preliminary report.

Koyle, 33, of Holden was among 40 firefighters sent last Thursday to the 250-acre blaze in the Fishlake National Forest east of Delta, according to the report by investigators for the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Glen Ullin man killed in fall

HAZEN, N.D. - A Glen Ullin man died after falling from a two-story home he was building near here, authorities said. Charles Craig, 57, died from head injuries he suffered from the fall on Thursday, Mercer County Sheriff Dean Danzeisen said.

Danzeisen said rainy conditions apparently caused Craig to slip while he was working on the home. Craig was pronounced dead at Sakakawea Medical Center in Hazen, authorities said.

Craig owned Beaver Creek Builders.

Farm Worker Killed When Tractor Plunges Over Embankment

LANCASTER, Ky. -- A coroner's report says a 45-year-old east-central Kentucky farm worker died accidentally Monday. Garrard County Coroner Daryl Hodge says Timothy Adams of Lancaster was found dead at the bottom of a 186 foot embankment, near the site where he'd been bush-hogging.

Driver Killed When Truck Hits Sign on Highway 99

Elk Grove, CA -- Highway 99 was closed early this afternoon after a truck crashed into a sign near east Stockton Boulevard in Elk Grove. The driver of the truck was killed. Investigators said it was not clear why the flatbed truck drifted off the road and hit the post at the exit sign.

Michigan worker killed - Milford man dies in Genesee County workplace accident

MUNDY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - A Milford man died in a forklift accident at a billboard business in Genesee County's Mundy Township. Officials say 23-year-old Joseph Cigna was unloading a semi-truck yesterday when he was injured by the forklift. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Worker Killed While Working On Store Sign

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- A man in his 30s was killed Tuesday morning while he was working on a sign at The Shops at La Cantera. Police said an installer for Comet Signs was in a basket truck trying to place some transformers on the roof to help light up a sign on a Foley's store when a cable snapped.

The ladder, which was extended all the way up, collapsed and ejected the victim. The worker, who worked for the company for about a year, fell to the pavement and died at the scene.

Tractor accident kills man in Rockingham, deputies say

REIDSVILLE, NY - A Rockingham County man died over the weekend after being involved in a tractor accident at his home, authorities said.

While working on a nearby building Saturday afternoon, a man saw E.W. Massey, 77, mowing at his 516 Brooks Road home near Reidsville with a mowing attachment on his tractor , the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office said in a news release. Almost two hours later, the man saw the tractor running without Massey on it. The sheriff's office said it appeared Massey had fallen off the tractor and was run over by the attached mower.

Cop Killer Arrested

BLACKSBURG, Va. - The shooting suspect who authorities believe killed two people in the past 24 hours is now in custody, Blacksburg police said late Monday afternoon Morva killed a security guard as he broke out of a hospital early Sunday and was on the loose, police said. Montgomery County Sheriff's Cpl. Eric E. Sutphin encountered him Monday morning along the Huckleberry Trail when he was fatally shot, the sheriff's department said. The trail runs adjacent to campus.

Truck Driver Killed In Fiery Crash On 5 Freeway

SUN VALLEY, Calif. -- A man was killed Monday in a fiery crash involving two trucks on the southbound Golden State (5) Freeway in Sun Valley, authorities said. A bobtail truck and a big rig collided shortly before noon near Sheldon Street, said Ron Myers of the Angeles Fire Department. The driver of one of the trucks was killed.

Driver killed as he strikes halted truck in Bellevue

BELLEVUE, Ohio - An Ohio truck driver slammed into the rear of a refrigerator truck that was stopped for a light in Bellevue, trapping the driver in his cab, which burst into flames, city police said.

The accident occurred at 4:41 p.m. Wednesday on West Main Street, also designated U.S. 20, and Sandusky County Road 302. Both vehicles were traveling east. The dead driver was identified as Joseph R. Guenette, 45, of Bowerston in Harrison County in eastern Ohio.