Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Daughter Sues BP To Learn Why Her Parents Died

The Guardian has a moving article about Eva Rowe, the daughter of James and Linda Rowe who died in the March 23, 2005 BP Texas City refinery explosion. Rowe has refused to settle with BP and is suing the company to find out the truth behind why her parents are dead.
James, 48, and Linda, 47, left a daughter, Eva, who believes safety failures at the huge BP plant in Texas contributed to the death of her parents. Her decision to launch a lawsuit against one of the world's most powerful corporations has led to the 22-year-old being compared to Erin Brockovich, the suburban mother who secured the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit in American history. But Eva has already turned down the offer of a compensation settlement by BP, claiming that only the scrutiny of a trial will ensure the world knows how and why her mother and father died.


Amid intense media interest, Rowe will allege that her mother and father died because failures in safety measures led to the explosion in March 2005 that killed 15 people and injured 170. In particular, she believes that cost-cutting may have compromised safety, a charge also denied by the oil company.

'BP's desire to save money killed my mum and dad,' she said in a Radio 4 documentary last week. 'To me, that is wrong. They could have not cut their costs so many years ago and fixed things and kept up their maintenance and they didn't. My parents are dead because of that.'
More BP Texas City Explosion Stories

US Agency Says Cost Cutting, Ignored Warnings Caused BP Explosion that Killed 15

How did a giant refinery with the lowest injury rate in its history -- nearly one-third the oil refinery sector average -- sustain the worst U.S. industrial accident in more than a decade? In a few words, they were measuring the wrong safety indicators, they were cutting the safety and maintenance budget while ignoring major warning signs.

Much more of the story is being told this week. After a devastating CBS "60 Minutes" report Sunday night where Chemical Safety Board Chair Carolyn Merritt told reporter Ed Bradley that BP management knew enough about Texas City's safety problems to have prevented the March 23, 2005 explosion that killed 15 workers and injured 170, the CSB has issued an even more disturbing interim report. The report has even more impact considering that the CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents, and that the five Board members were appointed by President Bush.
In preliminary findings released today, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) stated that internal BP documents prepared between 2002 and 2005 revealed knowledge of significant safety problems at the Texas City refinery and at 34 other BP business units around the world – months or years prior to the March 2005 explosion that killed 15 workers, injured 180 others, and was the worst U.S. industrial accident in more than a decade.

Last October, the CSB released a preliminary report stating that The isomerization unit, the gasoline octane booster that exploded, should not have been started up on March 23, because of a history of problems and a malfunctioning level indicator, level alarm, and a control valve. In addition, the raffinate splitter tower that overflowed on March 23 had a history of abnormal startups that included recurrent high liquid levels and pressures. BP management was aware of these incidents and malfunctioning equipment, but had never acted on that knowledge.

But it turns out the situation was even worse, according to CSB lead investigator Don Holmstrom:
Mr. Holmstrom said that his team has now documented the occurrence of eight previous instances where flammable hydrocarbon vapors were discharged from the same blowdown drum between 1994 and 2004. In two of these incidents the blowdown system caught on fire. The eight incidents were not properly investigated, and appropriate corrective actions were not implemented. The investigation of a 1994 incident resulted in an action item to analyze the adequacy of the blowdown drum. The area superintendent was responsible for the completion of this item. However, the item was never finished, and management officials did not follow up to assure completion.

The explosion on March 23, 2005, was not the only major accident the Texas City refinery had experienced, CSB investigators said. The history of major accidents and fatalities at the plant was summarized in a meeting held in November 2004 by the refinery manager for 100 supervisors. He gave a sobering presentation entitled “Safety Reality” on the 23 deaths at the plant in the previous 30 years; on average, one worker had died every 16 months.
Measuring The Wrong Things

There are also important safety lessons to be learned from BP's safety program at the time of the incident. Basically, BP management was measuring the wrong things to determine whether or not the plant was "safe"
In 2004, BP Texas City had the lowest injury rate in its history, nearly one-third the oil refinery sector average. However, the injury rate does not take account of catastrophic hazards or distinguish between injuries and fatalities. That year, the refinery experienced three major accidents that resulted in a total of three fatalities. One of these accidents was a major process-related fire. In late 2004, following these major accidents and other near misses, the Texas City leadership was attempting to improve the refinery’s safety performance. Several years of audits and reports had identified serious safety system deficiencies. However, the safety initiatives that were undertaken focused largely on improving personnel safety – such as slips, trips and falls – rather than management systems, equipment design, and preventative maintenance programs to help prevent the growing risk of major process accidents.”
Of course, this might cause one to question OSHA's inspection targeting process, which is based on those same injury and illness statistics that failed to predict the possiblity of a major catastrophe.

Budget Cuts

The other problem, according to Merritt, was that BP's budget cuts compromised safety and workers' lives:.
Chairman Merritt stated that stringent budget cuts throughout the BP system caused a progressive deterioration of safety at the Texas City refinery. BP implemented a 25% cut on fixed costs from 1998 to 2000 that adversely impacted maintenance expenditures and infrastructure at the refinery,” she said. Maintenance spending fell throughout the 1990’s at the then-Amoco refinery, and following the merger with BP further cuts were imposed. “Every successful corporation must contain its costs. But at an aging facility like Texas City, it is not responsible to cut budgets related to safety and maintenance without thoroughly examining the impact on the risk of a catastrophic accident.

By 2002, an internal BP report had identified the cost reductions as contributing to a decline of infrastructure in Texas City that would require significant investment to correct. These findings were corroborated in a survey of the refinery’s safety culture in 2005 just prior to the accident, known as the Telos study. The survey interview with the Texas City refinery manager identified a history of decapitalization and a culture of “things not getting fixed.”

“The refinery manager was not alone in this candid assessment,” Chairman Merritt said. “Large majorities of the survey respondents reported significant maintenance backlogs that were harming safety. Disturbingly, most employees agreed that ‘production and budget compliance gets recognized and rewarded before anything else at Texas City.’”

Meanwhile, to top off the day, the Board issued new safety recommendations calling on the U.S. oil industry to improve safety practices for refinery pressure relief systems, eliminating the type of atmospheric vent that caused the hydrocarbon release and explosions.
The first recommendation calls on the American Petroleum Institute (API), a leading oil industry trade association that develops widely used safety practices, to change its Recommended Practice 521, Guide for Pressure Relieving and Depressuring Systems. The revised guidance should warn against using blowdown drums similar to those in Texas City, urge the use of inherently safer flare systems, and ensure companies plan effectively for large-scale flammable liquid releases from process equipment.

Further recommendations call on the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to establish a national emphasis program promoting the elimination of unsafe blowdown systems in favor of safer alternatives such as flare systems. OSHA should also emphasize the need for companies to conduct accurate relief valves studies and use appropriate equipment for containing liquid releases, the Board said. A national emphasis program results in a concerted inspection and enforcement effort around a specific safety hazard.
OSHA had cited the Texas City refinery in 1992 for unsafe blowdown drums, but Amoco (which then owned the refinery) argued successfully that the blodown drums were in compliance with the API standard. If the API complies with the CSB recommendations, the standard would explicity warn against the use of blowdown drums.

BP was not in agreement with the CSB's findings. Although the company has "taken responsiblity for the explosion, a BP report blamed it on workers' failure to follow procedures and fired six workers shortly after the accident. According to the Wall St. Journal:
Ronnie Chappell, a BP spokesman, yesterday said the company stood by its findings. BP investigators "didn't find evidence of budgetary decisions which were an immediate cause or critical factor in this terrible tragedy," he said.

More BP Texas City Explosion Stories

Bush's Appointment of Stickler To MSHA: "A Sign Of Stubbornness and Weakness"

Washington Post regulatory columnist Cindy Skrzycki describes what's so wrong with President Bush's recess appointment of Richard Stickler as head of MSHA.
The Senate sent Richard Stickler' s nomination to become the top U.S. mine-safety official back to the White House -- twice. Widows and relatives of dead miners pleaded that he not be given the job. Stickler lacked the support of lawmakers from key mining states, and some newspaper editorials criticized him as an industry insider.

None of this fazed the White House. When Congress departed for its Election Day recess, President Bush on Oct. 19 made Stickler head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration in the Department of Labor. His tenure will last though the end of the Senate's next session, sometime next year.

In Washington parlance, it's called a recess appointment, a maneuver often used by the White House to bypass political opposition. The Senate goes out on recess, leaving the door open for the president to put in his choice. It's sort of like appointing a chief executive without the board of directors getting a vote.
And according to Skrzycki, there are a few other notable observers who also think it was a bad thing:
"It strikes me as a sign of stubbornness and weakness," said Paul Light, a professor of public service at New York University and an expert on the executive branch. "Recess appointments can do a great deal of damage and not have the support of the agency. It sets the stage for intense conflict over rules" between the career staff members and the unconfirmed appointee.
And then there's our friend Tony Oppegard:

The Mine Safety and Health Administration "has been run by industry insiders," said Tony Oppegard , former general counsel to Kentucky's mine safety agency and an adviser at MSHA during the Clinton administration. "The whole emphasis has been on compliance assistance. It's been a major failure of the administration. They don't look for safety advocates."
But there might be one silver lining emerging from this, according to Skrzycki:
The recess appointment may also ensure that thousands of members of the United Mine Workers of America, which opposed the nomination, get out to vote against Republicans next week, according to union spokesman Phil Smith.

"In doing this, he [Bush] has said what he is going to say about how important coal miners are, even in states like Pennsylvania and West Virginia where his supporters are looking for votes," Smith said.

Monday, October 30, 2006

43rd Coal Miner Killed In 2006

Deaths in the nation's coal mines reached 43 today with the death of a West Virginia miner. This is the most coal miners killed in the workplace since 1995 when 47 coal miners were killed. Twenty-two coal miners were killed last year.
The victims were preparing to work on a shuttle car on a slope about 7 a.m. when the coal transporting vehicle moved, said Caryn Gresham, a spokeswoman for the state Office of Miners' Health Safety and Training.

The miner who was killed was crushed between the shuttle and the mine's wall, she said. The other miner, a mechanic, suffered shoulder and chest injuries. He was taken to a Charleston hospital, where his condition was not known.
The accident occurred in Bluestone Coal's Double Bonus No. 65 Mine on Pinnacle Creek in southern West Virginia.

With the number of coal miner deaths rapidly approaching twice as many as last year, miners are just now looking ahead to winter, when most mine accidents occur:
Federal statistics show most coal mine explosions occur during winter. Cold, dry air makes it more difficult to control methane gas and coal dust, the key sources of most coal mine explosions.
This was the third mine fatality in a little over a week.

More 2006 Mine Disaster Stories here.

Smithfield Packing: Where Hogs Have Better Representation Than Workers

The Facing South Blog hasanother upsetting story about shameful working conditions at the Smithfield Packing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina:
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Like anyone who’s worked at a job for 10 years, Quincy Harvey had some stories to tell. But Mr. Harvey worked at the Smithfield Packing Plant in North Carolina, so his stories were more gruesome than most.

There was the time he accidentally stuck a knife through his hand – but had to wait 45 minutes and take a urine test before plant personnel took him to a hospital. Another day, while he was changing clothes, a block of 14 lockers that were not secured fell and pinned him, injuring his legs. The company said the incident would not be considered work-related.

Finally, after six years of cutting whole hog carcasses down the middle with a 100-pound “split saw,” Harvey developed a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder, which required surgery. Again, company officials told him that the injury wasn’t job-related. He was fired after 13 weeks on medical leave.
In addition to reviewing past reports of worker abuses and union busting at Smithfield, including a 2005 Human Rights Watch report, the article also examines the political situation behind Smithfield's ability to avoid improving its working conditions. North Carolina OSHA inspeced the plant, found 45 serious violations, but fined the plant only $23,514, leaving some observers skeptical of the political process:
Steve Wing, a professor at the UNC School of Public Health, noted that one of the problems in looking to the government is the history of generous campaign contributions from Smithfield that have corrupted the political system. Several of the injured workers who spoke seemed also to have given up hope for regulatory reform: They said they had come to believe that struggling to win union recognition was the only way to make changes at the plant.

[Marion Crain, of the University of North Carolina (UNC) Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity,]also spoke of government failures, noting that in North Carolina “the hogs have better representation than the workers.” She called the state’s labor laws “a disgrace,” and spoke out in favor of “card check” agreements. These are less contentious alternatives to union elections, which have tended to be disputed and end up in drawn out hearings before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Two previous UFCW elections at Smithfield, in 1994 and 1997, were disputed for years and eventually thrown out by the NLRB, which found the company guilty of intimidating workers and interfering with the vote.
And so it goes.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Job and Environmental Blackmail: Alive And Well In West Virginia

Now that a few religious groups are starting to think that maybe blowing up entire mountains, removing the coal, and then dumping the leftover debris into neighboring valleys and streams (also known as "mountaintop removal") isn't what God intended us to do with her earth, the coal companies are politely informing them that although they're well-intentioned, they're also misguided:
Either allow us to rape your countryside, destroy your streams and flood your homes or we'll kill your husbands and fathers, lay off the survivors, wreak economic ruin upon your communities, and sow your fields with salt.
Well, that's not precisely how they word their defense of mountaintop removal, but it's the general idea. Their exact words were:
The coal industry asserts that mountaintop removal is a safer way to remove coal than sending miners underground and that without it, companies would have to close mines and lay off workers.

Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association, a coal lobbying group, said that by fighting mountaintop removal religious groups might find their priorities colliding.

“They find themselves in a difficult position,” Mr. Popovich said, “because they’re expressing support for those who purport to protect nature, and, at the same time, that activism carries implications for the human side of the natural equation. Human welfare depends on the rational exploitation of nature.”
Here those nice coal companies are just trying to save miners' lives and provide jobs, and here come those shortsighted do-gooders trying to undermine human welfare in the name of those "purporting" to protect nature.

There are few things in the environmental realm that upset me as much as mountaintop removal and I can't for the life of me figure out how all this raping and pillaging and destroying is consistent with all of our environmental and clean water laws and regulations. I guess I'd have to be as smart as Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to understand stuff like that.

But happily, some religious organizations, specifically the Mennonite church, are organizing against the destruction of God's earth. And maybe they're making some progress:
Late in the trip, the tour group drove Lucious Thompson, 63, a former coal miner, to the horseshoe of peaks above McRoberts, where he lives. The peaks have been leveled. The woods where he had hunted are gone. The new grass on the new plateaus barely clings to the soil, which means that McRoberts often floods now after hard rains, he said.

“I’ve been flooded three times since they started working on the mountaintop,” Mr. Thompson said.

He talked of neighbors whose house foundations had been cracked because of the daily blasting, of a pond lost to sludge and of respiratory ailments because of the coal dust flying from the coal trucks.

“The coal company says it’s God’s will,” he said. “Well, God ain’t ever run no bulldozer.”
And she don't run no coal companies either.

Weekly Toll: Death In The American Workplace

A partial list of workers killed in the United States over the past couple of weeks.

Window Worker Killed

Orlando, FL - A construction worker is dead and another critically hurt after an accident at a hotel near Disney. Investigators say the workers were installing windows at the Bonnet Creek Resort at 536 and Buena Vista Drive when several large heavy panes of glass fell on them. Each one weighs over 60 pounds. It took almost a half an hour just to get them out from under the glass. One worker did not survive. The second person was airlifted to ORMC with critical injuries.

Q'boro Bridge foreman, hi-rise worker plummet to death from scaffolds

New York, NY -- Two construction workers plunged to their deaths yesterday in separate scaffolding accidents - one on the Queensboro Bridge, the other at an upper East Side high-rise. The U.S. Labor Department was investigating both fatal falls in which the workers were not wearing their safety harnesses.

The first incident came just before 11:30 a.m. when a painting foreman fell to his death as he tried to fix a jammed scaffold on the Queensboro Bridge. The employee with Alpha Painting & Construction Co. of Baltimore, identified by co-workers as Manno Oh, 45, went to help two workers lower a stalled scaffold, authorities said. But the scaffold dipped, and Oh, without a safety harness to catch him, fell more than 100 feet to his death.

Meanwhile, about 1:15 p.m., a 63-year-old employee of Basonas Construction Corp. plummeted 65 feet to his death from a luxury high-rise at 880 Fifth Ave. on the upper East Side. The worker, whose name was not immediately released, was working on a scaffold when he was knocked off by a gust of wind that hit him while removing his harness to switch to another one, police said.

4 Firefighters Killed in California Blaze

Four firefighters were killed today when a fast-moving arson fire fed by Santa Ana winds churned through the rugged wild terrain of Riverside County, destroying homes and forcing hundreds of residents to flee.

It was on one of those rescue efforts that a crew of firefighters were trapped in their vehicle as the rapidly moving fire simply devoured their attempt at shelter from the firestorm.

The loss of four firefighters to the Ezperanza Fire hit close to home for Big Bear Valley. One of the Forest Service fallen firefighters, Jess McLean, is the nephew of Jim and Barbara McLean of Apples Bed and Breakfast.

Engine Operator McLean, 27, and his engine company were overrun by the intense blaze burning near Cabazon. Also killed were Captain Mark Loutzenhiser, 44, Assistant Engine Operator Jason McKay, 27 and Firefighter Daniel Hoover-Najera, 20. Firefighter Pablo Cedera, 23, remains in critical condition.

Restaurant worker kills fellow employee

EAST CALN, PA - A Philadelphia man shot and killed a male co-worker on Friday afternoon behind the Japanese restaurant where the two men worked, police said. Bung Mac, 59, a native of Saigon, Vietnam, was arrested in Philadelphia less than two hours after the shooting. Mac told a Philadelphia police officer that he had "just shot someone in Downingtown," Chester County District Attorney Joseph Carroll said. "I've been in law enforcement for 30 years," Carroll said Friday evening at the Downingtown police station. "I've never heard of anything like this." Bung allegedly shot Long Nhat Trinh, 28, of Philadelphia, in the abdomen about 15 times at close range as Trinh sat in his silver Toyota Corolla behind the Hibachi Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar in the 900 block of Lancaster Avenue.

Arizonan dies in industrial accident in eastern Utah
Salt Lake City, UT - An Arizona man died Thursday in an accident at a rail yard in eastern Utah. Nelson Begay, 46, of Pinon, Ariz., was dead on the tracks when Grand County sheriff's deputies arrived.

The accident occurred about 4:30 p.m. near Cisco while Union Pacific Railroad workers were moving equipment, the sheriff's office said. It was unknown Friday how the accident occurred.

Landscape worker dies after he being pinned underwater by lawn mower

WELLINGTON, Fla. (AP) - A landscape worker died pinned underwater after his lawn mower flipped into a pond, authorities said.

The man, who was not named, was working near a horse pasture and stable in Wellington when the lawn mower he was riding went into a pond, sheriff's deputies said.

The man was under water for an unknown period of time. A co-worker found the man beneath the water and called 911 at 9:10 a.m., deputies said. A deputy responded and attempted to revive him, but the man died at the scene. The victim was identified as a 45- or 46-year-old man.

Officer killed in shooting

FAIRFIELD, AL -- A police officer sent to check on a suspicious vehicle in Fairfield was fatally shot as she stepped from her patrol car Monday, and a backup officer was wounded as he arrived at the scene seconds later.

Officer Mary Smith, 48, who joined the Fairfield Police Department two months ago after retiring from the police force in neighboring Birmingham, was responding to a resident's call about a suspicious vehicle about 10:15 a.m. when she was shot.

West Yellowstone officer killed in crash

WEST YELLOWSTONE, WY - A police officer responding to an accident near here was killed when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed.

Patrick Kramer, 29, died after losing control of his vehicle at about 10 a.m. Sunday, the Gallatin County coroner's office said in a statement. The crash occurred about six miles west of West Yellowstone on Highway 20.

Sheridan sheriff shot to death

Salina, KS - Sheridan County Sheriff James Johnson and a rural Sheridan County man who shot him were both killed Thursday afternoon during an incident at the sheriff's office.

Johnson was talking to Steven P. Reitcheck, 35, about a possible commitment to a mental health facility when Reitcheck pulled a handgun and fired, said Kyle Smith, deputy director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Van accident kills Danbury man By Brian Saxton

NEW FAIRFIELD, CT -- A 25-year-old Danbury man was killed Thursday morning after his van slid off a stretch of high ground at a local residence and crashed to the bottom of the front yard. State police later identified the man as Christiano Goncalves Lopez, a native of San Paolo, Brazil, who had driven to the house on Hardscrabble Road to work on a construction and renovation project.

State Trooper William Tate said Lopez died at the scene of the crash and that the case is still under investigation.

Head-on crash on I-215 kills 2, seriously injures 2

NORTH SALT LAKE — Two people were killed and two others injured Wednesday in a head-on collision involving a minivan carrying state education workers. Glenn Williams, 52, of Murray, and 33-year-old Christopher Carter Luke, of Bountiful, were killed just before 9 a.m. on I-215 near Redwood Road. For an unknown reason, Luke's car drifted into the median, drove down it for about 100 yards and then drifted into oncoming traffic, striking a minivan head-on, said Utah Highway Patrol trooper Blaine Robbins.

Truck Driver Killed In Traffic Accident

Crawford, AR - A truck driver was killed in an accident Tuesday afternoon near the Crawford and Washington county lines, the Arkansas State Police reported. The accident happened about 3:15 p.m. on Arkansas 59. Trooper Patrick Smith said the Southwest City, Mo., truck driver, whose name he withheld pending notification of next of kin, was driving north in a semi-tractor pulling a trailer loaded with chicken parts. “He failed to negotiate a (right-hand) curve, crossed the center line, and the weight in the trailer shifted, causing the trailer and then the truck to turn over on the driver’s side,” Smith said.

Reserve deputy killed at crash site

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — Ross County man remembered for his sense of duty. It wasn't unusual to see Lawrence Barnes helping out someone else. Often he was assisting at crime scenes as a longtime reserve deputy for the Ross County sheriff's office. Or going on late-night runs with the Springfield Township volunteer fire department. Or staying to clean up after a fundraising dinner at his church. The community he spent a lifetime serving held his memory close yesterday after Barnes, 65, was struck by a car while helping at an accident scene "I'm proud of Larry. He did his job. His job ended today," Sheriff Ron Nichols said.

Waste Management driver dies in crash this morning

STATE LINE, PA - A Waste Management employee died in a one-vehicle accident shortly after 6 this morning in State Line, while fog and slick road conditions kept police busy in the Mercersburg area and closed busy U.S. 30 for five hours. The Waste Management worker died when the garbage truck flipped into a field at the corner of State Line and Trolley roads. “Obviously, this is a very tragic occurrence,” said Cheryl Shields, community and municipal relations manager with Waste Management in Upton. “Our first thoughts and prayers are with the family.” According to Shields, the truck was traveling a routine residential route on State Line Road toward Maryland this morning. Neither she nor police could disclose whether the victim was traveling alone. The unidentified victim's body was trapped in the vehicle until a towing company could upright it around 9 a.m. The Pennsylvania State Police and Franklin County Coroner Jeff Conner continued to investigate this morning and could provide little information.

Ole Miss police officer killed during traffic stop

OXFORD, MS - A University of Mississippi police officer was killed early Saturday morning while conducting a traffic stop near the university campus. Officer Robert Langley, 30, had stopped a vehicle for speeding when the driver suddenly pulled away, dragging him approximately 200 yards. Langley suffered severe head injuries and was taken by helicopter to the Medical Center in Memphis where he was pronounced dead. Within 30 minutes of the incident, Oxford Police detained 20-year-old Daniel Cummings, a second-year UM student from Germantown, Tenn. Cummings has been charged with capital murder of police officer and is being held in the Lafayette County Detention Center.

Worker crushed by construction vehicle

DURHAM, NC -- A man working with a street-paving crew in Durham was crushed to death by a construction vehicle Friday afternoon, according to police. All worked stopped at the Red Oak Street and Lane Avenue work site at approximately 1:45 p.m. when a sprayer truck driven by one of the workers backed into another worker. The dead man, whose identity was not immediately released pending notification of next of kin, was pronounced dead at the scene, police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said.

A Tale of Two Shootings

Cleveland, OH - Thursday turned out to be a violent day for a postal worker in Canton and a convienence store owner in Cleveland. With their shootings taking place just hours apart, we are reminded that becoming the victim of a violent crime can happen anywhere and at any time. Jennifer Milburn was a 26-year-old United States Postal Worker with just under three weeks on the job. The Canton residents on her route came to know her as an outgoing letter carrier that was genuinely interested in making sure they received their mail. She was shot in the head on Thursday while standing on the porch of a residence. Published news reports state that Canton Police, the FBI, and the US Postal Police have two suspects, aged 19 and 21, in custody for murder and obstruction of justice. It still isn't clear if Milburn was the intended target, a random target, or the victim of unintended consequences. We'll never know if she had a fighting chance.

Osnaburg man killed working at Pa. job site

Osnaburg, PA -- An Osnaburg Township man was buried this week after dying while working at a former coal mine in Pennsylvania. Ray E. Palm, 34, of Belfort Avenue NE was demolishing a building at the old Robena Mine Preparation Plant on Oct. 11 when he was hit by a steel beam, said Greene County Deputy Coroner Mary Lewis. The mine is near Waynesburg, Pa.

Worker apparently electrocuted

Decatur, AL - A maintenance worker died Thursday of an apparent electrocution at a McDonald’s restaurant, Decatur police said. Initial investigation indicates that Tony James Gibbs, 45, of Cullman suffered the electric shock while apparently performing maintenance on a pressure washer, said Lt. Chris Mathews, a police spokesman. Fire and EMS personnel responded and tried to revive Gibbs following the 10:20 a.m. accident at the McDonald’s at 3324 Point Mallard Parkway S.E.

Michigan man killed in industrial accident

PLYMOUTH, MI - Wood falling from forklift at Plymouth factory crushes 55-year-old truck driver. A forklift accident at a local factory Friday morning claimed the life of a 55-year-old Michigan man. Police and medical personnel were called to Hehr International, in the 1100 block of North Oak Road, shortly after noon, to investigate a report of a man trapped under a load of wood. Sgt. Mark Owen of the Plymouth Police Department said that responding officers discovered a semi parked on the south side of the building, with a man underneath a pile of wood on the ground by the truck.

Durham Road Worker Struck, Killed By Truck

DURHAM, N.C. -- A worker that was helping pave a road in Durham was killed after being hit by a truck this afternoon. Police said the worker was standing in Red Oak Avenue near Lane Street -- that's just south of the N.C. Central University campus -- when a sprayer truck started to back up. The truck ran over the worker and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The worker apparently didn't see the sprayer truck moving. Police did not immediately release the worker's name.

Concierge Who Fell to His Death Is Remembered Lovingly

New York, NY - He was a fixture in the busy lobby of a Garment District building, the sort of man whose smile prompted workers to stop on their way to the elevators, smile back and exchange a greeting. But his imprint went beyond simply greeting the building’s occupants. He brought flowers on Mother’s Day for the women who worked there and sent cards offering his condolences to workers grieving the death of loved ones. He knew by name many of the people who crossed his lobby. And in death, Ismael Vangas, 47, who worked in the lobby at 1359 Broadway for more than 20 years, seemed still to touch workers in the building far beyond what his job description as a concierge implied. According to the police and Building Department officials, Mr. Vangas died on Wednesday afternoon when he fell 11 stories in an elevator shaft of the 21-story building. He had helped rescue a passenger stranded in a freight elevator stuck between the 11th and 12th floors, the officials said.

Residents reflect after Officer Michael Briggs's death

Manchester, NH -- Oriana Leausa took one long puff from her cigarette and tossed it over the balcony overlooking the intersection of Lake Avenue and Maple Street in Manchester yesterday afternoon. Her 2-month-old baby, Mya, was waking up from a nap and starting to fuss. A car sped out of the alley below, screeching and leaving tire marks in its wake. A few blocks away, 5-year-old Sierra Smith and her 10-year-old sister, Skylind, played with a new beach ball. At the next corner, a woman smoked a cigarette and paced, peering into the open windows of slow-moving cars. The center city neighborhood was shaken with fear, uncertainty and disbelief this week after a Manchester police officer was shot in an alley near the intersection of Lake Avenue and Lincoln Street. Officer Michael Briggs of Concord died Tuesday at the Elliot Hospital in Manchester.

Suspect details robbery, killing

HURST, TX -- Moments after Jonas Paul Cherry arrived to work at Putt-Putt Golf & Games on Monday morning, he was shot execution-style in the back of his head, mid-sentence, as he begged the robbers for his life, an arrest warrant shows. Cherry was shot three more times in the head and legs as they "finished him," the warrant states. He died on the floor of a place he worked for 12 years.

Schuylkill miner killed in blast

Tremont, PA - Dale Reightler, 43, dies in explosives accident at Tremont Township mine. Five others escape. A Schuylkill County coal miner who once said he drew strength from the danger of working underground was killed Monday in an explosion at a small shaft in the western end of the county where four miners were hurt in a 2004 blast. It was Pennsylvania's first underground anthracite mine fatality in 71/2 years, officials said. Five other miners escaped injury.

Tower collapse kills worker

Albuquerque, NM - One power-line worker died and another was critically injured this morning when they fell at least 50 feet with a collapsing transmission tower. The men were setting up an emergency tower as part of a demonstration for an international power industry conference hosted by PNM in Albuquerque. “A tower that was being erected as part of an event collapsed with two gentlemen on top of the tower,” Bernalillo County Deputy Fire Chief Roger Tannen said. “I’m not sure exactly how high it was, probably greater than 50 or 60 feet.” Aerial video from Skyranger showed the metal-framed structure lain over from its base possibly with guy cables still attached.

3 found dead in eatery

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The wife of a Koreatown restaurant owner discovered the bodies of her husband and two employees at his restaurant Saturday, police said. The wife had been searching for her husband after he didn't return home Friday night and found the three, who had been shot dead, at the restaurant Chinkuya, said police spokesman Mike Lopez. The victims were a 44-year-old man, a 40-year-old man and a 45-year-old woman, Lopez said. Their identities were not immediately released, and police said they had not made any arrests.

Amber alert issued after social worker found dead

Henderson, KY - An Amber Alert was issued Monday night after a social worker was found dead in a Henderson, Ky., home and a 9-month-old boy, his mother and her boyfriend were missing, authorities said. The victim was been identified as Boni Frederick, 67, of Morganfield, Ky. She was pronounced dead at the scene, said Henderson County Deputy Coroner Don Farris. An autopsy is to be performed Tuesday morning. A warrant, charging Renee Terrell, 33, with kidnapping had been issued Monday night. In addition, she and Christopher Luttrell are both wanted for questioning in connection with Frederick's death, said Sgt. John Nevels, head detective of city police in Henderson.

One Killed, Three Injured in Construction Accident

Milford, MI -Three workers were injured and one died when a truss collapsed at a construction site in Milford, Monday afternoon. The workers were putting up wooden trusses on an addition being made to the South Hill Church on S. Hill Road. One truss fell creating a domino affect collapsing several trusses. The four men were trapped for about 45 minutes while Milford police and firefighters worked to rescue them. Two workers were in critical condition and two were in serious condition when they were transported to Huron Valley, Beaumont and Providence Hospitals with head, neck and back injuries.

Richmond Taxi Driver Shot, Killed In Car

RICHMOND, Calif. -- Richmond police are looking for clues in the city's 34th homicide of 2006. Investigators want to know who shot and killed a taxicab driver from Rodeo, NBC11 reported. Police found the body of Musharaf Poswal Sunday morning on San Pablo Avenue, near the border between Richmond and El Cerrito. The 48-year-old man was slumped over the steering wheel of his personal car, parked behind his cab. Detectives said they are not sure if Poswal was just starting or ending his shift

Worker killed at Donnelley

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - A workman was accidentally crushed to death early today as he was replacing belts in a stacking machine at the R.R. Donnelley & Sons plant, 216 Greenfield Road, Lancaster police said. The victim reportedly was a 48-year-old Lancaster-area man who has worked at the plant for at least 10 years. Police are withholding his name until next of kin are notified. The accident happened at 12:50 a.m. today. City police Officer Paul Blanchflower said the man had climbed into a stacking machine to replace belts when the machine started moving for an unknown reason. The man was pinned and then crushed by the machine. Workers and a LEMSA ambulance crew freed him in three to five minutes, but it was too late. He had fatal head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by Deputy Coroner Matthew Arnold, police said.

Electrician killed at Michigan Tech

HOUGHTON, Michigan — An employee of Northland Electric of White Pine died Saturday morning in an accident at Michigan Tech University. Bill Lehtinen, 57, of Calumet, was working on an early morning electrical project at the university. He was at the Upper Peninsula Power Co. substation on the university campus near its Central Stores building working on a high-voltage switch when the accident happened, according to MTU officials. Public Safety officers were called to the scene at 5:08 a.m. and attempted unsuccessfully to revive him with CPR and an automatic external defibrillator. They were assisted at the scene by Houghton City Police, Michigan State Police and Houghton County Sheriff’s deputies, as well as Mercy Ambulance personnel.

Worker injured at Wal-Mart site dies in hospital

Bloomington, IN - Two other men still remain in serious condition. A worker severely burned in an electrical accident this August at the construction site for the new Wal-Mart Supercenter in Bloomington died Friday. Scott Shelton, of Anderson, passed away at about 10:45 p.m. Friday in the burn center at Wishard Memorial Hospital after his heart stopped, according to hospital officials and family members. He was unable to be resuscitated. Shelton, 35, who received burns covering 95 percent of his body, had been in an induced coma at the Wishard burn center. He was moved briefly to the Riley Hospital for Children in an effort to stabilize him in September. Shelton, an employee of Electromation Inc., in Muncie, was injured Aug. 26 after an electrical panel he and two other men were working on was charged with 12,000 volts of electricity and shorted. The resulting electrical arc -- which extended six to eight feet -- sparked a fire in the service room, lighting all three workers on fire.

Construction Worker Killed in Tuesday Accident

Fresno, CA - This morning, two were working on a street project on Belmont Avenue just west of Marks, when a driver struck them. Authorities plan to file vehicular manslaughter charges against the man who hit the two construction workers. Police say the 18 year old driver pulled out of a nearby drive way, saw the construction and bypassed the cones. Somehow, the driver did not see the two men working on a sewer line and plowed into them. One construction worker was killed instantly. The other suffered major injuries and was taken to the hospital. An officer with the California Highway Patrol says this is a tragic case that reminds people to pay attention when they're in a construction zone.

State highway worker struck, killed on I-44

Springfield, MO - A tractor-trailer struck and killed a state highway worker today on an Interstate 44 outer road, the Missouri highway Patrol reported. The worker, who was pronounced dead at the scene, has not been identified because relatives have not been notified. The collision was reported before noon close to the 93 mile marker in Webster County. A man was one of about five Missouri Department of Transportation workers putting up signage on the westbound shoulder, Sgt. Kent Casey said. The man was struck as he tried to cross a north outer road to get to a parked service truck, he said. Because the crash involved a state worker, the incident will be reconstructed, a process that could take weeks, Casey said. Information will then be sent to the Webster County Prosecuting Attorney's Office for possible charges, he said. The sergeant did not expect traffic blockage on Interstate 44 since the crash occurred on an outer road.

Sheridan sheriff shot to death

Sheridan County, KS - Sheridan County Sheriff James Johnson,54, and a rural Sheridan County man who shot him were both killed Thursday afternoon during an incident at the sheriff's office. Johnson was talking to Steven P. Reitcheck, 35, about a possible commitment to a mental health facility when Reitcheck pulled a handgun and fired, said Kyle Smith, deputy director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Man caught in machinery at Tilcon quarry in Rockaway Twp.

ROCKAWAY TWP., NY -- A Stony Point, N.Y,, man was killed this morning when he was crushed at a recycling center at the Mount Hope Quarry, the company said. Walter Lubanty, 43, was performing maintenance on a piece of equipment when he was struck by a part of the equipment that was being handled by a crane. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

OSHA looks into death of man who fell from tower

Jerseyville, MO - Federal authorities are investigating how a man fell to his death while working on an empty water tower near Jerseyville. Leo Schleeper, 55, of Brussels, was killed Tuesday afternoon on the tower five miles south of Jerseyville on U.S. Highway 67, the Jersey County Sheriff's Office said.

Man electrocuted in event center accident

Broomfield, CO - A 44-year-old construction worker was killed at the Broomfield Event Center Wednesday after a jolt from live electrical lines knocked him from a ladder. Witness reports indicate the man, whose name was not released, fell about 10 feet after brushing against live electrical wires. He was taken by paramedics to Good Samaritan Hospital in Lafayette, where he was pronounced dead.

Worker dies in trench collapse at subdivision

NORTHVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A construction worker died while working in a trench outside a $2 million home under construction in this Wayne County community. The 29-year-old man had been installing water and sewer service at the worksite when he was found Tuesday afternoon, Northville Township Police Lt. Greg Rhodes said.


San Antonio, TX - What`s been categorized as an industrial accident claims the life of one worker at the Falls Flyover. Police say workers for Zachry Construction, the San Antonio based company building the Flyover, were having problems with a crane. They say 52-year old Emanual Ramirez was laying down tracks for the machinery when he was pinned against the body of the crane. Police were called just after 9 p.m. last night, and Ramirez was dead when they arrived. They say the Criminal Investigation Unit was called on scene. They found no signs of foul play and ruled the death an "industrial accident." Ramirez was from Dallas. Tex-Dot says this is the first and only death on the Falls Flyover, and that only one other Tex-Dot or contract employee working on a project has been killed in this Tex-Dot district in the last eight years.

Officer dies after being struck by federal judge while directing traffic

NEW HAVEN, Conn. A police officer in Connecticut has died, four days after he was struck by a sport utility vehicle driven by a federal judge. Officer Dan Picagli was hit Tuesday night in New Haven while directing traffic in the rain. He had been wearing a black raincoat and a reflective vest. The vehicle was driven by John Walker, a senior judge on the second U-S Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. Police say the accident remains under investigation, but officers did not feel it was necessary to test the 65-year-old Walker for drugs or alcohol. No charges have been filed in the case.

West Suburban Police Officer Shot, Killed, Maywood Police Have Interviewed Persons of Interest

MAYWOOD, Ill. The search is on for the gunman who shot and killed a police officer who was on routine patrol in a squad car in Maywood. The officer was shot several times while in his squad car, possibly a K9 unit, sometime after 11 p.m. Monday. He was identified as Thomas Wood, 37, father of five of Schiller Park, who had worked as a canine officer.

Worker dies in fall from Roosevelt Island Bridge scaffold

New York, NY - A 45-year-old construction worker died Monday after he fell from a scaffold at the Roosevelt Island Bridge in Long Island City where he was working, police said. The man, who has not yet been identified by police, was killed when he and two other workers tried to lower themselves from the scaffold at the bridge at Vernon Boulevard and 36th Avenue in Long Island City, police said. The scaffold tipped, causing the worker, who was not wearing a harness, to fall, police said. The man was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.The other two workers on the scaffold were not injured, police said.

Worker from Shrewsbury dies

Shrewsbury, MA - A 24-year-old construction worker from Shrewsbury died in a work-related accident early yesterday morning at the Chestnut Hill Mall in Newton. According to Newton police, Joshua Rasket, 24, of 5 Shady Lane, Shrewsbury, died in an industrial accident at 1:50 a.m. The state Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating.

Corbett company owner run over, killed by truck

Corbett, OR -The owner of a Corbett excavation company was run over and killed by a dump truck Tuesday morning, officials said, as he adjusted the truck's brakes at the company's headquarters. Detective Jim Strovink, spokesman for the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, said Scott R. Cox, 48, owner of Bull Run Enterprises, Inc., 8989 Southeast Bull Run Road, was crushed to death by a truck driven by one his employees, 37-year-old Bruce R. Rickert, of Corbett.

Southfield man killed in fatal crash

Lyon, MI - A 35-year-old employee of U.S. Food Service in Lyon Township was killed at 4:13 a.m. today after being struck by a semi-truck driven by another employee.According to Deputy Thomas Poulin, of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Crash Reconstruction Unit, Jonathan Baker of Southfield was walking to his truck in the company’s parking lot when he was struck from behind by the truck, driven by a 42-year-old Sterling Heights resident. The driver of the truck did not suffer injuries, however, Baker died after being taken to Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.

Worker Killed While Erecting Memorial

Northview, MO - A state highway employee was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer Tuesday while putting up a memorial to a state trooper who died on the same stretch of Interstate 44. William L. Crain, 35, was erecting a sign naming part of the highway after Highway Patrol Trooper Jay Sampietro, who was struck and killed last year. Crain, who was a seasonal crew member for the Missouri Department of Transportation, was working from a service road that runs parallel to I-44 near the unincorporated town of Northview in Webster County.

Olympic National Park employee dies of injuries

KALALOCH, PA -- An Olympic National Park maintenance employee died Friday of head injuries sustained Oct. 5, the park announced Monday. Daniel R. Green was found lying unconscious on the ground next to the cab of a park dump truck he had been operating in the Kalaloch area, and was presumed to have fallen, said Barb Maynes, public information officer for the park, in a written statement. Green was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he remained until his death, she said. No age or hometown for Green were available on Monday. A National Park Service team is expected in the park today to begin an investigation into what may have caused Green's injury.

Blue Bird worker dies from fall

FORT VALLEY, GA - Blue Bird Corp. is closing today in recognition of a longtime employee who died Saturday as a result of injuries in an accident at the bus manufacturing plant. A short statement issued by the plant Monday gave scant details, acknowledging only that Stephen Sapp, 48, had died and that the plant was shutting down for the day. "Steve was a valued employee that was well respected by his co-workers and company," Blue Bird stated in a news release. Mike McCurdy, the plant's director of human resources, said Sapp died as the result of a fall at the plant. McCurdy said he was not aware of any previous fatal accident at the Fort Valley plant. He declined to further comment, even when asked what day the accident occurred. Sapp's father-in-law, Clarence Little, said all he knew about the accident was that it happened Tuesday, and that his son-in-law, a painter at the plant, had fallen off a ladder.

Construction worker dies in crash at Moonlight Basin

BIG SKY, MT (AP) - An all-terrain vehicle went off the road and rolled down an embankment Monday near here, killing the driver, the Montana Highway Patrol said. The victim, a 19-year-old Ennis man, was a construction worker at Moonlight Basin ski resort, the company said in a news release. The accident happened on Mountain Loop Road between the Moonlight Lodge and the intersection of Mountain Loop Road and Diamond Hitch Road. The man apparently was driving around a corner, went off the road and rolled down an embankment, the patrol said. He was found dead at the scene at about 1 p.m. with the ATV on top of him. The patrol is investigating. The victim was employed by Mountain Top Construction, a subsidiary of Moonlight Basin Ranch. His name was withheld pending notification of family. Moonlight Basin has arranged counseling services for employees who feel they need it, and has offered its staff personal time off. Mountain Top Construction will be closed on Tuesday

Death investigation of railroad worker continues

PAJARO, CA — Investigators are trying to determine exactly what happened to a 49-year-old Santa Cruz man who died Friday when his legs were severed by a rail car. Darrell Clyde Thompson, a native of Sunnyvale, began working for Union Pacific Railroad three years ago as a conductor, said his wife, Cheryl. "He loved it," she said Monday. "He said he never worked with a greater bunch of guys." One of Thompson's co-workers discovered him on the tracks about 9:20 a.m. at the switching station on Salinas Road near Allison Road, said Gary Wheelus, a detective with the Monterey County Sheriff's Office. Thompson's legs had been severed. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Though other workers were in the area, none saw how Thompson, who was between railcars, wound up under the moving train, Wheelus said. "We are trying to fill in the holes," the detective said.

One dead, one wounded in early morning tavern shooting

Kansas City, MO - One man was killed and another man was critically wounded early today in a shooting inside a Kansas City tavern. The wounded man called 911 about 3:15 a.m. today from the Filling Station, 11515 Hickman Mills Drive. When police arrived, the building was locked and the lights were off. Police verified that the 911 call came from inside and then the fire department forced the door open. The tavern was not open Sunday night, but two employees were having a private party, police said. The employees were the shooting victims, police said. Police believe other people were inside the bar at the time of the shooting but left before police arrived. Police said they have responded to two other shootings at the tavern in the past six months. Those non-fatal shootings occurred outside of the tavern.

Ala. police officer dies in motorcycle wreck

Denham Springs, AL -- An Alabama police officer was killed along Interstate 12 in Denham Springs Sunday morning after his rear motorcycle tire burst, causing him and his fiancĂ©e to be thrown from the bike into the median, authorities said. Birmingham Police Sgt. Joseph Hill, 45, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Livingston Parish Coroner’s Office, said Denham Springs Police spokesman Sgt. James Edwards. Hill’s passenger, 44-year-old Charlotte Garrett, was brought to Oschner Hospital with minor injuries.

Officers investigate death at warehouse

RUSSELLVILLE, AK — Federal officers on Tuesday were conducting an on-site investigation into the fatal fall of a warehouse worker a day earlier at the Tyson Valley Distribution Center on U. S. 64 in Russellville. Authorities identified the man as Gregory K. Duvall, 29, of Atkins. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital about an hour after the fall, which was reported at 4: 52 a. m. Monday. In Springdale, Tyson Foods Inc. spokesman Gary Mickelson issued a statement saying Duvall had fallen about 28 feet. Mickelson said Tyson was still investigating what happened.

Woman kills ex-husband at his job

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. - A Powder Springs woman has been charged with murder after she allegedly shot and killed her ex-husband in the parking lot of his employer. April Ulrich lured her former husband, Eric Ulrich, 40, into the parking lot of NCR Corp on Ga. 74 with a phone call on Thursday afternoon, police said. Once he was outside, the 45-year-old woman shot him twice, and he later died at a hospital, police said. She was still in the parking lot when authorities arrived. Peachtree City police Chief Jim Murray said officers found a .38-caliber pistol in her car. Neighbor Eunice Weber said the couple was fighting over custody of their 6-year-old daughter, who lived with her father. The couple divorced in 2004.

Convenience Store Clerk Shot

Jackson, MS - Jackson police are on the hunt for three men who shot a convenience store clerk. It happened around 5:20p.m. Sunday at Nick's Food Mart located at 2750 Siwell Road. Investigators say 57 year old Banta Singh was shot once in the abdomen and transported to C.M.M.C. Three men, ranging from their late teens to early twenties, wore hooded sweats when they shot Signh and took an undetermined amount of cash. Area residents are outraged.

LAPD officer dies after being struck by car

LOS ANGELES, CA - A Los Angeles police officer and father of two was killed early Sunday when he was struck by a car while investigating a crash in the Los Feliz area, authorities said. The driver of the car that hit Officer Landon Dorris has not been charged with a crime, said Officer Mike Lopez. Dorris, 31, of the LAPD's Northeast division, was outside his squad car at the scene of a minor traffic collision at about 1:20 a.m. when he was struck, Lopez said.

New Haven Officer Dies After Hit While Directing Traffic

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- A veteran police officer who was struck while directing traffic died Saturday night, NBC 30 reported. New Haven officer Dan Picagli was hit by a sport utility vehicle Tuesday night as he stood on Chapel Street. So far police have not charged the driver, who is also a federal judge. Those who knew Picagli said he was a school resource officer who was dedicated to kids and the community, NBC 30 reported.

Store reopens, minus one special employee

Rock Hill, SC -- The cops have little but a "whodunit." The family clings to hope. The convenience store where Ned Marshall was gunned down at 4:30 in the morning Oct. 10 is open again, serving the coffee and selling the gas to get Rock Hill through another day. But some people at the BP station at the corner of Celanese and India Hook roads don't smile like they used to when Marshall, 69, counted out the change. It's tough when there are condolence flowers and three pictures of Marshall and his grandchildren on the counters, and a clear plastic bucket collecting dollars and coins for his family. Marshall, nicknamed "Pie," came from an old Rock Hill family, but his legacy was good will.

Cab Driver Shot And Killed In Richmond

Richmond, CA - The Contra Costa County Coroner's office identified the cab driver shot around 6 a.m. Sunday as Musharaf Poswal, 48, of the town of Rodeo in Contra Costa County. The Richmond Police Department is investigating the city's 34th homicide of 2006, which occurred in the Richmond Annex area of South Richmond. According to Richmond police Lt. Mark Gagan, officers responded this morning to the intersection of Bayview and San Pablo avenues on a report of a victim slumped over the steering wheel of his car. Officers found Poswal suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, Gagan reported. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Farm Accident May Have Caused Man`s Death

St. Joseph, MO -- A St. Joseph man is dead tonight from what officials call a possible farm accident. The Buchanan County Sheriff`s Department is processing the scene tonight. Deputies arrived at a farm in the 6500 block of Pickett just outside city limits around six o`clock tonight. When they arrived at the farm a 64 year old man was found dead at the bottom of a deep embankment. The victim's body was still on the scene so KQ2 was kept near this farm home. They say about a half mile from the house the man was using a brush hog to mow when he tried to make a turn on a levy. That's when they believe the mower and the man slid down a 15-20 foot embankment.

Arkansas Junior Firefighter Killed in Flooding

Williford, Ark.-- Christopher Bodkins16, loved being a volunteer junior fireman and was on a rescue mission Saturday morning when the raging waters of Martin Creek swept him away to his death. Family members found Bodkins' body along the creek bank at 11 p.m. Saturday when the waters receded, about 35 yards from where a vehicle driven by his stepfather, Bill Cossey, the assistant fire chief of the Williford Volunteer Fire Department, was washed off a lowwater bridge.

Semi driver killed in fiery I-69 crash

ANDERSON -- Interstate 69's southbound lanes were closed for more than 12 hours Tuesday after a fiery Madison County crash that killed a semi-truck driver. The accident was reported about 6:30 a.m. after motorists drove upon the scene near I-69's 28-mile marker, about two miles north of Anderson's Scatterfield Road exit.

Authorities identify man killed in accident

Riverside, CA -- Officials have identified a San Marcos man who died Monday in an industrial accident in Murrieta. Charles Richard Childs, 68, was a passenger in a water truck that left the dirt roadway and rolled, stated a Riverside County coroners news release. Childs was partially ejected in the collision at Menifee and Keller roads on Monday about 10:30 a.m., according to the Murrieta Police

Florida Man Kills a Sheriff's Deputy and Wounds Another

LAKELAND, Fla. -- A man stopped for speeding Thursday fatally shot a sheriff's deputy and wounded another as they chased him into the woods, officials here said. Deputy Matthew Williams of the Polk County Sheriff's Department was killed after coming to back up a colleague who had stopped the assailant's car on North Wabash Avenue, a spokeswoman for the department said. The colleague, Deputy Doug Speirs, was shot in the leg; he was treated at Lakeland General Hospital and released.

2 state troopers, another person killed in crash

GALLIPOLIS Ohio -- Three people, including two state troopers, were killed Thursday in a two-vehicle crash in southeast Ohio that left both vehicles charred and mangled, the State Highway Patrol said. The troopers were in one patrol car, and the other person was in a pickup. The patrol didn't release details about how the crash happened. Sgt. Jon Payer said the investigation was continuing.

Sgt. Dale Holcomb, 45, and trooper Joshua Risner, 29, who both worked at the Gallipolis post, and Lori Smith, 32, of Vinton, were killed, the patrol said.

Metra police officer shot to death, reward offered

HARVEY Ill. -- Metra is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of an assailant who shot and killed one of its police officers, authorities of the Chicago-area commuter train service said Thursday. Officer Thomas Cook, 43, who had been serving with Metra for 3 1/2 years, was shot in the back of the head late Wednesday while in his patrol car across the street from the Sibley Boulevard train station in this southern Chicago suburb, Metra spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said.

Contractor Falls To His Death In Midtown

A young construction worker whose safety harness was unclipped fell to his death from the roof of a Midtown office building yesterday. Jose Luis Melendez Gutirez, 19, lost his balance and fell from the 12th floor of an 18-story building at 800 Second Ave. near East 42nd Street, authorities said. Police said the El Salvadorian immigrant landed on a sidewalk shed one story above the sidewalk. Co-workers said Gutirez was taking equipment to the roof and removing debris when he slipped off a guardrail around 9 a.m. Witnesses said they heard the sound of his body landing and then saw his white hard hat tumble into the street. Gutirez was employed by Skyline Reconstruction Corporation, a Long Island City-based general contractor.

Man Dies In Industrial Accident

Fresno, CA -- Michael J. Dean, 31, of Fresno, died from injuries suffered in an industrial accident at Inca Presswood Pallets, Ltd. of Dover, on Monday afternoon, Sept. 25, 2006.

Farmer's death shows job's danger

BELVIDERE, IL -- A food scientist whose passion for the Earth and produce marked his life, was killed Tuesday in a farming accident. George Muck, 68, who retired as the top executive for research and quality at the Dean Food Co.'s Rockford Center in 2001, died at the farm he owned on Beloit Road.

Patrol identifies man killed working on ethanol plant road

RICHARDTON N.D. -- The Highway Patrol on Wednesday identified a Mandan man who was killed in a construction accident while working on a road at the Red Trail Energy ethanol plant being built here. Henry Reiss, 63, died at the scene about 9:45 a.m. Tuesday when the packing machine he was operating went off the dirt road and rolled over on top of him, authorities said.

Cab driver shot, killed

Anderson, SC -- Officers found a cab driver shot dead early Monday morning after being called to check out a traffic accident. According to other published reports, the cab was found on Jackson Street. The driver was Major Ray Davenport, 48, was robbed and shot. Other reports said the cab went down an embankment and hit the telephone pole that fell on his car. The incident happened after he picked up a customer at Country Club Apartments.

Michigan truck driver found dead in rig at Oklahoma rest stop

SAPULPA Okla. -- A missing truck driver has been found dead in his rig at a rest area on the Turner Turnpike. The body of Marvin Clay Sandifur, 51, of Cheboygan, Mich., was found about 8 p.m. Monday south of Sapulpa, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.

Man killed at airport work site; Truck at Akron-Canton crushes Medina resident

Akron, OH -- A 60-year-old Medina man apparently was crushed to death Tuesday morning in a construction accident at Akron-Canton Airport. Frank Seibert, an employee of Kenmore Construction, was pronounced dead by Green Fire Department paramedics at 10:16 a.m. The accident occurred about 10 a.m."Mr. Seibert was doing surveying work and was kneeling in front of a large truck,'' Sgt. Stephen Glennon of the Summit County Sheriff's Office said. "The truck driver was advised by someone that he needed to move the truck. We don't know at this time why the truck driver did not see Mr. Seibert.'' Glennon said Seibert was apparently caught by the truck's right front tire when the truck moved forward.

Landlord slain; Apartments' owner is Memphis' 127th homicide of the year

Memphis, TN -- A young resident of the Edwards Apartments on Southern Avenue peers outside Friday to watch police investigate the shooting death of Chung Hsu, 62, the owner/operator of the complex. But dismayed residents said he was much more than their landlord; he was their friend. Hsu is Memphis' 127th homicide of 2006.

Powhatan deputy helping in pursuit dies; Deputy who crashed had arrested suspect two years earlier

Powhatan County sheriff's deputy Robert E. "Robbie" Green died in a crash late Wednesday as he attempted to join a pursuit of a driver who fled officers at a traffic checkpoint. They were pursuing Khalil Jerry Walker of Powhatan, who had been arrested two years earlier - by Green - for drunken driving, an offense for which he was later convicted. That detail was not lost on Green's colleagues and state troopers yesterday as they mourned the loss. No one interviewed could recall another Powhatan officer dying in the line of duty. "It's really ironic," said Powhatan Undersheriff Greg A. Neal. "Robbie arrested him, and his license is suspended and then this happens." It is unclear if Green knew the identity of the suspect in the chase. Walker, 24, crashed into a ditch after leading police on a 10-mile pursuit at speeds reaching 100 mph, police said. He escaped injury and was captured after running from his vehicle. Police said Green, 33, died as he was positioning himself to join the pursuit but veered off the road and crashed into trees about 1.2 miles from where the pursuit began.

Gunman kills guard at hotel

A masked gunman killed an unarmed hotel security guard in a robbery early Friday morning, police said. William T. Williams, 64, of New Port Richey, died in the lobby of Fairfield Inn & Suites on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, Clearwater police spokesman Wayne Shelor said. Williams was a security guard for Janus Security Services of Tampa and was working at the inn at the time of the robbery.

Volunteer firefighter killed near Tar Heel

TAR HEEL, NC — A man who was a firefighter, correctional officer and Bible school teacher was killed Friday morning outside the town limits while painting markers for fire hydrants on N.C. 87. Ronald Phillip Allen Jr., son of a former Tar Heel mayor, was 37 years old. He leaves behind a wife, a daughter, two step-children and his parents. Allen, a volunteer lieutenant with the Tar Heel Fire Department, had taken a brush truck to the highway Friday morning and was spray-painting circles and arrows on the highway that show fire engine drivers where hydrants are, said Mitchell Byrd, Bladen County Fire Marshal. He was working by himself. Byrd said Allen had parked the brush truck and was painting the highway in front of it about 10:30 a.m. when another car ran into the truck from behind. The impact pushed the truck over Allen, crushing and killing him.

Falling beam hits, kills Duchesne County man

FRUITLAND, UT -- An industrial accident claimed the life of a Tabiona, Duchesne County, man Wednesday afternoon at a job site on the Bandana Ranch north of Fruitland. Tony Casper, 30, was on the ground overseeing the construction of an aircraft hangar on a rural landing strip when a nylon strap broke, releasing a 20-foot-long steel beam as it was being hoisted into the air vertically. The beam hit the ground and then while falling, struck Casper in the head. "One end was 20 feet in the air, the other end was several feet off the ground and it started swinging," said Duchesne County sheriff's detective Mark Heath. "One of the hired hands tried to stop it from swinging, and that's when the strap broke. It fell the full distance."

Worker crushed by truck identified

BENSON, NC -- The state Highway Patrol has identified the migrant farmworker crushed to death Sunday night when a pickup he was repairing rolled over him. The laborer, Thomas Winfield Gurganus, 58, of Orlando, Fla., died instantly sometime after dusk Sunday when the old farm truck slipped out of gear on a farm in southern Johnston County, said state Highway Patrol Sgt. J.A. Starling.

Weber sheriff probes electrocution of man

WEST WARREN, UT -- Sheriff's deputies are investigating the electrocution of a mechanic at the Great Salt Lake Mineral Co. Deputies said just after midnight Thursday Ronald L. Thompson, 48, of Ogden was repairing a pump at the rural Weber County business. After conducting tests and not hearing from him, a co-worker went to check on Thompson and found him in a pond, deputies said. "Somehow he made contact with live lines," Weber County Sheriff's Sgt. Dale Bridges said. "The high voltage went through him."

Officer kills self; 2nd in 3 days

Philadelphia, PA -- A veteran police officer took his own life yesterday afternoon as he sat in his parked car outside department training classes, police said. A colleague found the male officer about 1:30 p.m. in his bronze sedan in a public lot on Buttonwood Street near 10th, police said. He was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound at the scene minutes later, said police. The department declined to release the officer's name, but police sources identified him as James DeNardo of the major- crimes unit's auto squad.

The suicide was the second within the Police Department in three days, police said.
On Sunday afternoon, a police sergeant discovered Officer Thomas Hook, 31, dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound inside his home on Frankford Avenue near Grant, police said.

Rolling truck kills worker, 28

WRIGHT, NY - A New Scotland man died Tuesday morning when the truck he was repairing rolled over on him. Daniel Martin, 28, of Delaware Turnpike, was working on the brakes of a 1977 International dump truck on an inclined driveway at Precision Paving where he was employed when the accident occurred, said Trooper Maureen Tuffey, a State Police spokeswoman. Martin had to release the vehicle's parking brake to work on the rear brakes. He secured the truck with blocks of wood underneath the tires, Tuffey said, but the vehicle rolled downhill and trapped Martin.


CUBA CITY , WI -- A 42-year old man was found dead Monday night at the bottom of a silo chute on a Cuba City farm, the Grant County Sheriff's Department said. Rickard L. Wallenhorst was last seen by family at around 3 p.m. Monday, according to deputies, when he said he was going to make hay and weld a part on the silo unloader while they were gone from the farm, at 1819 Short Lane in the town of Hazel Green. When the family returned and Wallenhorst did not come to the house, a search ensued. Wallenhorst's wife found him by the silo chute in the hopper about 10 p.m, deputies said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Miss. Co. man dies in cotton-picker accident

PROMISED LAND Ark.-- A man picking excess cotton from the header of a cotton picker died Tuesday when the machinery ran him over, the Mississippi County coroner said. Milford H. Garrett, 63, of Gosnell died in the accident near the Promised Land community, Coroner Mike Godsey said. A sheriff's report said Garrett had gotten out of the cotton picker he was operating to clean off a header when the picker began to move.

Guard aided in heist, police say

Contra Costa, CA -- The guard driving a hijacked Brinks truck when a robber shot and killed his partner was arrested early Saturday after admitting he planned the heist with an accomplice, police said. The accomplice, whose name was not released, was being questioned by police Saturday night. Police said the Brinks employee, Clifton Wherry, 28, of Hayward told them it was not part of the scheme to kill the other guard, 24-year-old Anthony Quintero of Union City.

Hit-and-run driver kills newspaper vendor

Miami, FL -- A Miami Herald newspaper vendor was killed before sunrise Sunday by a hit-and-run driver. The vendor was setting up to sell papers on U.S. 441 at Miramar Parkway when a southbound Nissan swerved onto the median, where the man was sitting in a chair. The vehicle, a light-colored pickup or SUV, struck the vendor around 6:30 a.m., continued on the median, then jumped back on the road and continued southbound. The vendor, 41, died at the scene.

Trooper killed in highway collision

CLAREMORE Okla.--An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper and a tractor-trailer rig collided on a northeastern Oklahoma turnpike Sunday, killing both drivers and tying up traffic for hours, authorities said. Pronounced dead at the scene was Trooper William L. McClendon, 37, of Mounds, highway patrol spokeswoman Kera Philippi said. A trooper for eight years, McClendon graduated from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Academy in 1998. He primarily patrolled the Creek Turnpike in suburban Tulsa and was responding to a call for assistance when the collision occurred, she said.McClendon was married and had three children, ages 17, 13 and 10.

Wis. Town Grapples With Principal Death

CAZENOVIA Wis. -- A student charged in the shooting death of his school principal was a normal teenager but often bragged about getting into trouble, a neighbor said Saturday as this tiny farm town struggled to come to terms with the attack. Eric Hainstock, 15, told police he gunned down Weston Schools Principal John Klang before classes began Friday because he was upset with a reprimand Klang had given him, according to a criminal complaint charging him with first-degree intentional homicide. The teen was also upset because he felt teachers didn't intervene to stop students who harassed him, the complaint said.

Store clerk shot dead after giving robber cash

Richmond, VA -- In an act described by police as callous and cold-natured, a masked gunman shot and killed a convenience store clerk after the victim had already handed over the cash during a robbery in Fort Bend County. Altaf Jafarali Maknojia, 24, of Sugar Land, was shot once in the neck shortly after 11:40 p.m. Wednesday as he stood behind the counter at the Chevron station in the 9400 block of FM 1464 in the northeast part of the county.

BP Knew About Dangers At Refinery That Killed 15

Investigate almost any workplace disaster (or even small accidents) and you'll find that there were plenty of warning signs known to both workers and managers, but there was no existing management system to ensure that such warnings get addressed before disaster strikes. In addition, if you've been following the various investigations of the disaster -- from OSHA, as well as interim reports from the US Chemical Safety Board -- you know that plant managers had numerous warnings of unsafe conditions, malfunctioning equipment and previous "close calls."

So it was not too much of a surprise to hear in tonight's 60 Minutes that the managers at the BP Texas City Refinery that blew up last year, killing 15 and injuring 170, were aware of conditions that led to the deadly explosion.
60 Minutes examined internal BP documents confirming that John Manzoni, the company's executive in charge of refineries, was repeatedly warned by his own experts before the explosion about serious safety problems at the refinery. One report noted that the history of petroleum leaks at the facility near Galveston, Texas, created "the potential for a major site incident."

Manzoni has said under oath that he only became aware of serious safety concerns at the Texas City site on March 23, 2005, the day of the explosion. Asked in a videotaped deposition whether management was aware of the great risk to human life at the site, Manzoni replies: "I believe that ... nobody knew the level of risk at Texas City."
Carolyn Merritt, chair of the US Chemical Safety Board, an independent government agency that is investigating the tragedy, confirmed those findings and blamed it on budget cuts.
Carolyn Merritt, appointed by President Bush to be chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, says management at BP knew enough about Texas City's safety problems to have prevented the disaster.

"Absolutely," says Merritt to Bradley's question on whether the Texas City blast was preventable. "The problems that existed at BP Texas City were neither momentary nor superficial. They ran deep through that operation of a risk denial and a risk blindness that was not being addressed anywhere in the organization."

Merritt adds that she believes budget cuts at the facility were directly related to the accident. "Twenty-five percent of their fixed costs were cut and when you cut that much out of a budget ... Our investigation has shown that this was a drastic mistake," she says.
Merritt stressed that the incident was preventable:
"There were three pieces of key instrumentation that were actually supposed to be repaired that were not repaired, and the management knew this," reveals Merritt. She says BP management authorized the operation that ultimately resulted in the blast, knowing the three pieces of equipment were not working properly.

What's more, she says, the company violated its own policy when it allowed trailers for workers to be placed so near potentially dangerous operations — perhaps the single biggest lapse that led to the deaths and injuries.

"These things do not have to happen. They are preventable. They are predictable, and people do not have to die because they're earning a living."
Another financial analyst on the program also discussed how it was understandable that BP would make some budget cuts after buying Amoco several years ago, but he asked at what point to you go beyond normal cost-cutting before you're into "reckless behavior?" And another expert noted that the plant was making $1 billion a year. It would have been a few million to correct the problems that had come to their attention. "But would you rather make $1 billion or $998 million?"

The most moving part of the program was the interview with Linda Rowe, who lost both parents in the Texas City explosion. Although the families of the other fatalities have settled with BP, Rowe insists on going to trial -- not because of the money, but because of the information that would remain hidden if not for the trial: "I want everybody to know what they did," Rowe said.

Much more information will emerge during Rowe's trial, and other information will be released early next year when the US Chemical Safety Board releases its indepth investigation report.

A widow of one of the workers killed at the plant also said that her husband had warned of conditions at the plant.
One of the Baytown-area workers killed in the explosion was Jimmy Hunnings, 58, a quality control specialist for contractor firm Fluor Global Services.

His widow, Linda Hunnings, said Friday her husband told her about the dangers at the plant even before he ever worked there.

“My husband would come home and make the comment, ‘It’s an accident waiting to happen,’" said Hunnings, who received a settlement from the company.

She said her husband, an experienced quality control inspector, had only started working at the BP plant a few months before for a turnaround project. He had resisted working there before because he’d heard about the lack of safety measures, she said.

“To know that they put things on hold, and didn’t really care about people’s safety … it really pisses me off, because it’s an accident that didn’t have to happen and I could still have my husband,” said Hunnings, who has also long worked in the petrochemical industry.
After accidents happen, no matter how many warning signs, no matter how much proof that managers and workers had knowledge that conditions were unsafe, management will always say they had no idea that this would happen, and if they had, they would have done everything in their power to prevent it.

But what they really mean is this: They had no idea that the shortly after 1:00 pm on March 23, 2005, the BP Texas City plant would explode, killing 15 workers in nearby office trailers. This is true, just as no construction manager had any idea that at any specific moment, the trench would cave in on two workers in the 12 foot deep trench without a trench box.

But, of course, this is the wrong answer to the wrong question. The question is, were you aware that there were unsafe conditions? Were you aware that you were cutting corners and violating OSHA standards or industry best practices? Were you aware that there was a possibility that these unsafe conditions could possibly lead to a catastrophic incident? Either the answer is yes, in which case we have a willful violation, or if the answer is no, in which case we have extreme negligence. Either one is unacceptable.

More BP Texas City Explosion Stories here.