Sunday, July 31, 2005

Weekly Toll

Lowlights this week: A bunch of heat-related deaths (who would have known it gets hot in the summer?), a couple of teens killed on the farm, and one injured on the side of the road.

Construction Worker Dies In Deer Park Trench Collapse

SYCAMORE TWP., OH -- A trench collapse killed a construction worker in Deer Park Sunday.

Crews from Deer Park, Silverton and the Hamilton County Urban Search & Rescue are still at the scene in the 3700 block of East Galbraith Road in Deer Park, working to recover the victim who may be buried 25 feet deep.

The victim has been identified as Timothy Roark, 28, of Brooksville, Kentucky. (More here.)

Nightclub Owner Killed

Birmingham, AL -- A Hueytown man was shot to death early Thursday during an apparent robbery at his west Birmingham club.

George Lewis
, 54, was gunned down about 3:30 a.m. while he and a co-worker were closing up King George's Old School Lounge on Third Avenue West.

Grain elevator worker falls to his death

HILLSBORO, N.D -- A grain elevator grain elevator worker fell about 45 feet to his death, the sheriff says. The man of the 37-year-old man was not immediately released. Traill County Sheriff Mike Crocker said the man fell from a catwalk about 1:30 p.m., Thursday.

Crocker said the man was an employee of Alton Agronomy, about four miles south of Hillsboro. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Man Killed In Auto Plant Accident

KOKOMO, Ind. -- A man was killed in an accident early Thursday morning at the Daimler-Chrysler transmission plant in Kokomo.

Police said the man became entangled in some machinery about 30 feet above ground at about 3:25 a.m.

Officials with the plant identified the victim as Bret Maggert. He had suffered a head injury and was unconscious when emergency workers arrived.

Plant officials said they believe Maggert slipped while working on a conveyor belt. Chrysler is working with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to determine how the accident occurred.

Man killed by falling tree

CASPER, WY - A lawn and tree business employee died when he was struck by a falling tree, the second death of a tree cutter here this month, police said.

Joseph Pedry, 24, of Casper, died from head and neck injuries Tuesday while cutting down trees south of Casper, according to Gary Hazen, Natrona County's deputy coroner.

Hazen said investigators are trying to determine how the accident happened.

On July 9, Victor Heinze, 50, of Thermopolis, was cutting a tree on Casper Mountain when a dead tree was dislodged, striking him in the head and killing him.

Woman killed in construction crash

GOSHEN, NY -- A New York woman was killed Wednesday morning on Route 63 after losing control of a construction vehicle, state police said. Melissa M. Darrow, 569 Argersinger Road, Fultonville, was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Darrow, 35, was operating a rubber tire Hyster Roller and descending a hill on Route 63 south of Hautboy Hill Road when she apparently lost control, witnesses told police.

"The roller ran off the road, striking a tree, causing the operator to be ejected and fatally injured," State Police Sgt. J. Paul Vance said in a press release.

Darrow was traveling north on Route 63, picking up speed and the roller began to fishtail as she lost control, according to an accident report from state police Troop B in North Canaan. The roller crossed the double-yellow line twice as Darrow attempted to regain control before crossing the south lane, leaving the road and colliding with a tree, according to the report.

Motive alleged in slaying

San Leandro, CA -- A convicted methamphetamine user fired seven shots and killed a San Leandro police officer to prevent the officer from learning that he was carrying two guns and drugs, police said in court documents released Thursday.

Irving Alexander Ramirez, 23, who was on probation, was afraid that the contraband meant an automatic return trip to jail, authorities said. His fear intensified when Officer Nels "Dan" Niemi ran the suspect's name over the police radio after stopping Ramirez and four others on a noise complaint at about 10:50 p.m. Monday, police said.

Without warning, Ramirez fired one shot from a 10mm semiautomatic handgun -- and then fired six more shots as Niemi, 42, was lying on the ground near Doolittle Drive and Belvedere Avenue, according to a chilling scenario outlined in court records. Police found Ramirez's ID near an unconscious Niemi, who died at a local hospital, the records said.

Worker dies in accident at Enfield construction site

ENFIELD, CT - Police and federal officials are investigating an accident Wednesday that killed a Hartford construction worker at the Kohl's Plaza on Elm Street.

Timothy Ford, 50, a masonry worker, was pinned between a wall and a piece of construction equipment around 4:51 p.m. police said.

Deputy Chief Carl Sferrazza said today that Ford was working on the roof of Best Buy, which is under construction, when a "boom-type" construction vehicle tipped as it was raising materials to the roof. The vehicle tipped due to the weight of the materials, pinning Ford, he added.

Funeral arrangements set for Mattawan police officer killed in crash

Mattawan, MI -- Funeral arrangements have been announced for a Mattawan police officer killed in the line of duty this week .

Twenty-one-year-old Scot Beyerstedt died after his cruiser went off the road and hit a tree during a high-speed chase. His partner, Officer Scott Hutchins, was released from a hospital on Wednesday.

Worker dies repairing roof at airport

Boston, MA -- A contract worker for JetBlue Airways died yesterday morning while doing repairs on the roof of Terminal C at Logan Airport, officials said. It was not clear how the man died, but it does not appear to be suspicious, a Massachusetts Port Authority spokesman said. The spokesman said he did not know the name of the man, who worked for Maintech, a company based in Wallington, N.J., or how he died. JetBlue officials referred calls to Maintech. No one could be reached there last night.

Worker Found Dead Of Heat Illness

Huraon, CA -- On July 15, a farmworker was found dead in a melon field southwest of Huron. The cause of his death has not been determined, and the Fresno County Coroner's Office is waiting on toxicology tests. No foul play is suspected.

The man was working under the name of Ramon Hernandez, but his identity has not been confirmed. He was not carrying identification, and no records or documents have been found to confirm his identity.

Construction worker falls 40 feet to death

Deerfield Beach, FL -- A 25-year-old construction worker died today after he apparently fell from the roof of a building in Deerfield Beach, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office.

The man, an Opa-Locka resident whose name the sheriff's office is withholding, was atop the roof of a warehouse at 2001 Green Road. He plunged about 40 feet to the ground at around 12:19 p.m., BSO said.

Worker Electrocuted At Allen Park School

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- A worker at the site of a school renovation project in Allen Park was electrocuted on Tuesday morning, Local 4 reported.

Bill Stone, 32, was with a crew from Environmental Maintenance Engineers Inc. removing asbestos from Allen Park High School when the incident occurred.

Stone was in a tunnel spraying a sealant near an electrical fan that was helping to vent the fumes, Local 4 reported. He apparently put one hand on a pipe and the other on the fan and was electrocuted.

Farmworker Collapses in Heat, Dies

Arvin, CA - The second San Joaquin Valley farmworker in a year has died of heat exposure in triple-digit temperatures, sparking renewed calls from labor leaders for worker safety regulations in extreme heat. Witnesses said Salud Zamudio Rodriguez, 42, was picking bell peppers in Arvin, Calif., south of Bakersfield, in 105-degree heat Wednesday when he complained of feeling ill, according to Lupe Martinez, a vice president of United Farm Workers of America.

Tribune Worker Dies From Accident

La Crosse, WI -- La Crosse Police are investigating the death of a press operator at the La Crosse Tribune. 24-year-old Larry Humfeld of Stoddard died Sunday at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center. Police say he was struck earlier that day by a roll of newsprint.

Man Dies Falling From Ladder

WAUKESHA, WI - A 37-year-old Waukesha man died two days after falling from a ladder at the Waukesha Family YMCA and fracturing his skull in an empty whirlpool. Dave Farra worked at the YMCA, 320 E. Broadway, for more than five years and was a maintenance supervisor, said Chris Becker, the YMCA executive director. Farra left behind a wife and children, Becker said. The whirlpool is drained and cleaned once a week, Becker said. Farra had drained the whirlpool Tuesday and climbed a ladder to change a light bulb that hung directly above the whirlpool, Becker said.

Worker dies in tree trimming incident

CLEMSON, S.C. - A Greenville man has died after a power line fell during a tree trimming operation, electrocuting the victim. Gene Barry Brown, 41, died about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Kandy Kelley, Pickens County deputy coroner. An autopsy was planned Wednesday, Kelley said. Brown was working on the ground and a worker was above him clearing limbs from power lines when a limb fell on a power line, bringing it down, Clemson Police Chief Jimmy Dixon said.

Highway worker hit by truck, killed

Atlanta, GA - A highway worker was killed and another injured Tuesday afternoon when they were struck by a rental truck while picking up trash on I-20 at the Newton-Walton County line. Authorities said both workers, who were working as contractors for the Georgia Department of Transportation, were illegal immigrants. The one who was injured was a boy about 14 years old.

Trench collapse at university kills construction worker

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- A construction worker died Wednesday in a trench collapse at the University of Rochester, fire officials said. Capt. Dan McBride said 21-year-old Brandon McLane of Henrietta was working on utility lines near a residence hall around 9:50 a.m. when the walls of the trench gave way, burying him up to his shoulders. McLane was removed after 15 minutes and died at the hospital. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was investigating the cause, but McBride said rain may have played a role.

Carwash Worker Dies in Compressor Explosion

Irvine, CA - A man was killed Saturday when an air compressor ruptured and exploded at a carwash in Orange.

Javier Ulloa, 46, of Long Beach was working at Chevron Car Wash in the 1400 block of West Chapman Avenue when the compressor exploded at 9:25 a.m. Saturday, police said.

Stevens Point trucker dies in flatbed rollover

KRONENWETTER, WI - A 23-year-old Stevens Point man died while hauling lumber on a flatbed truck that rolled late Monday morning near Highway X and Maple Ridge Road, police say.

Someone near the scene heard the crash and called 911, said Officer Luis Lopes of the Kronenwetter Police Department. No other vehicles were involved.

Emergency workers found the truck in a northbound ditch when they arrived at the scene just before noon.

The man, whose name police did not release on Monday, had to be extricated from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Security Guard Is Shot to Death at Restaurant

Los Angeles, CA -- A security guard was shot to death outside a restaurant early Saturday after an argument in the parking lot escalated, authorities said. A man got out of a black Honda about 3:45 a.m. and fired a handgun, apparently at patrons on the east side of the Brite Spot restaurant on Firestone Boulevard, said Lt. David Smith of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Gerardo Gutierrez, 25, of Los Angeles, who worked for the restaurant, was pronounced dead at the scene. The circumstances of the argument were unknown.

Security guard shot dead at north side nightclub

Houston, TX -- Houston police are investigating the fatal shooting of a man in the 8600 block of Irvington about 6 a.m. today.

The victim, Fernando Ramirez, was working as a uniformed security guard at a nighclub where he was asked to escort two unruly men outside.

Witnesses told police they heard gunshots in the parking lot and one club patron found Ramirez shot on the ground.

He had been shot twice in the chest and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Trucker killed after driving off I-78

CLINTON TOWNSHIP, NJ -- A Pennsylvania man died early Wednesday morning when the tractor-trailer he was driving drifted off the highway for an unknown reason and overturned on Interstate 78.

Wilmer L. Maurer Jr., 49, of Hegins, Pa., was pronounced dead at the scene by the Mobile Intensive Care Unit of Hunterdon Medical Center in Raritan Township.

Maurer drifted onto the left shoulder of the westbound highway, traveled up an embankment and jackknifed at about 2:34 a.m., New Jersey State Trooper Miguel Holguin said.

It was unclear why Maurer drove off the road in the 1995 Kenworth tractor-trailer, police said.

Teen killed in farming accident

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - A 13-year-old boy was killed Wednesday while working on a Pequea Township farm, investigators said. Jonathan Stoltzfus, of Sadsbury Township, was pronounced dead at the scene of the 11:11 a.m. accident at 1050 Byerland Church Road.

Investigators determined Stoltzfus was steering a team of mules as it pulled a gasoline-powered hay-processing machine through a field. The teen was behind the mules and in front of the machinery.

The left wheel of Stoltzfus’ cart struck a hole, startling the mules. Stoltzfus fell onto the ground, and the hay-processing machine rolled over him.

Stoltzfus became entangled in the machinery and was dragged several hundred yards, investigators said.

Victim identified in ditch collapse

KOOTENAI, ID -- Bonner County Sheriff's officials have identified the man who was killed in a utility ditch cave-in on Thursday.

Jeffrey David Lester, a 47-year-old from Sagle, died when the side of the ditch gave way, trapping him. Sheriff's officials said Lester was extricated and transported to Bonner General Hospital, where he later died.

The industrial accident remains under investigation. Bonner County Sheriff's Capt. Jim Drake said additional information about the incident could not be released because the investigation remains ongoing.

Lester was working for Tucker Excavation & Pipeline of Sandpoint, according to Drake. The ditch collapse happened at 2:50 p.m. on the west side of North Kootenai Road, near the Kootenai Meadows Cutoff Road intersection.

Excavator machine kills woman

Ocoee, FL -- A woman was killed Tuesday after being hit by an excavator machine.

The excavator backed over the 50-year-old woman at 8:50 a.m. while she was removing temporary fencing at Ocoee Commons near West Colonial Drive and Blackwood Avenue, Ocoee Fire Marshal Butch Stanley said.

Paramedics transported her by ambulance to Health Central hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The woman was a temporary hire for Workers Temporary Staffing.

Farm worker dies in tobacco combine in Sumter County

Sumter, SC - A 55-year-old farm worker has been killed by a tobacco combine while working in a field in Sumter County. Eddie Wilder of Alcolu died Wednesday morning. A co-worker found Wilder between the blades of the combine. A sheriff's department report says Jesse Durant told authorities he saw Wilder in the driver's seat about 9:25am Wednesday. Durant says he noticed Wilder was not in the seat about 15 minutes later and found him between the combine's blades.

Sanitation worker, 24, killed in fall from truck

Ossining, NY -- A village sanitation worker was killed yesterday morning when police said he fell from a moving garbage truck and hit his head on the pavement. John Rodrigues, 24, was working with a crew collecting recyclables on Browning Drive about 9 a.m. when, standing on the rear platform of the truck, he fell head first onto the roadway. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Phelps Memorial Hospital Center in Sleepy Hollow. His father, Joseph, said his son was well-liked and respected on the job and in the Ossining community. "There was nobody like him," said Joseph Rodrigues of 129 Croton Ave. "He would do anything for anybody and not expect anything in return."

Farmer dies in tractor mishap

Gainesville, FL -- A Lula man died Wednesday in a farming accident after the tractor on which he was working rolled over him, authorities said. Hall County Coroner Marion Merck said investigators with the Hall County Sheriff's Office ruled Christopher C. Jackson's death accidental. Merck said he was not involved in the matter, which the man's personal doctor handled, and that there would be no autopsy.

Worker killed at auto supplier in Bowling Green

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- A Bowling Green man working at an auto springs plant was fatally injured when the equipment started abruptly and crushed him, according to Warren County Deputy Coroner Dwayne Lawrence. Marvin Lee Smith was taken to a Bowling Green hospital after the incident early Thursday, Lawrence said, and died of massive trauma. Lawrence said Smith was in a pit working on a piece of equipment at the NASCO plant when the equipment turned on and crushed him against a wall.

Fla. Man Electrocuted While Working On Sign

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Lakeland police said a man was electrocuted while working on a sign Friday. Authorities said David Aycock had 25 years of experience in the illuminated sign business. He was working on the roof of a building when he was shocked and killed. Police said Aycock either fell into a 7- foot well behind the sign or was working in it when he was shocked. They said the Lakeland Fire Department had to get the victim out.

Railroad employee dies after being crushed by train car

RAGLAND, AL — A railroad employee was killed Friday morning in Ragland when a train car derailed in the shipping yard at National Cement Company, crushing him against a building wall. John Michael Willis, 56, of Gadsden was killed when the last car of a Alabama & Tennessee River Railway train derailed, pinning him between the train car and a building wall. The cause of death is blunt force trauma, according to St. Clair County Coroner Dennis Russell. The Ragland Police Department received the call to National Cement at approximately 10:30 a.m., said Police Chief Bubba Brown. Ragland Police and Ragland Fire and Rescue responded to the scene.

Worker Electrocuted

Columbus, OH -- A worker was electrocuted Friday afternoon at a Brewery District construction site. The victim has been identified as 39-year-old Carl Henson, who recently moved from the Worthington area. Henson was operating a lift vehicle when his body touched high-voltage power lines, killing him instantly. "The gentleman was working, trying to get extra work done before he went home for the night," Columbus homicide detective Brian Carney said. He was working alone, high above Deshler Street just south of downtown, where the Brewer’s Gate town homes are being constructed.

Heat suspected in deaths of worker, senior

Bakersfield, CA -- Meanwhile, coroner's officials said Friday they still don't know whether this week's death of a farmworker near Arvin was heat-related. Toxicology tests are needed to establish a cause of death for 40-year-old Augustine Gudino of Visalia, they said.

Gudino was found dead by co-workers early Thursday morning; he'd gone missing on Wednesday. His brother said Gudino looked ill while working Wednesday, but he has diabetes so the cause of death wasn't clear.

Young lineman with Singing River Electric killed

PASCAGOULA, MI - A 24-year-old lineman at Singing River Electric Power Association died Thursday night after he came into contact with a power line while trying to restore power to a church in southeast Greene County, authorities said Friday. Nathan Pierce, a journeyman lineman and six-year employee of the electric company, and other crew members went to White's Chapel Church about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, authorities said, to repair the weather-related power outage.

Heat May Have Killed Second Farm Worker

ROXBORO, N.C. -- A migrant farm worker who was found dead near a Person County soybean field died of heart attack or heat stroke, the county sheriff said Tuesday. Pablo Ordaz was working at the Walker Farm, a tobacco and grain farm in Olive Hill, on Tuesday when he said he wanted to quit for the day because he didn't feel well, Person County Sheriff Dennis Oakley said. Ordaz left the farm and was last seen walking toward a mobile home at the farm. He never returned to the home he shared with other workers.

Boy killed in farm machine accident

OWEGO, N.Y. -- A 14-year-old boy was crushed to death after getting caught in a silo unloader while working on a farm.

Cody Martin of Owego was pronounced dead at the scene Wednesday from leg, chest and neck injuries, said Tioga County Sheriff's Lt. Rick Travis.

Martin was helping feed cows with one of the farm owners when the accident happened. The silo unloader is a conveyor belt-like machine that helps bring feed from the silo to the barn to feed cows. Martin was left alone to observe the machine and make sure it didn't plug up, Travis said.

He was found entangled in the machine, but investigators weren't sure how the accident happened.

Carnival worker dies in Franklin

A Hope man taking down a carnival ride died early Sunday as he was rolling a section of cable on the Johnson County fairgrounds. Nathan Gearhart, 40, died about 1:13 a.m., Johnson County Coroner David Lutz said. An autopsy performed in Indianapolis Monday has not determined what Gearhart died of, and the pathologist is awaiting results of toxicology tests to determine if a medical condition contributed to his death, Lutz said.

Three charged in cab driver killing

GREEN TOWNSHIP – Two men and a woman were charged with aggravated murder today in the Tuesday night fatal shooting of a cab driver on Mimosa Lane.

Taxi driver Timothy Deger, 42, of Houston Road in Colerain Township was shot multiple times around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 1300 block of Mimosa Lane, just off of Cleves-Warsaw Pike.

Hamilton County spokesman Steve Barnett said robbery was the motive, but nothing was taken. Authorities found the handgun they believe Williams used to kill Deger, Barnett said.

The suspects were arrested less than a block away from where Deger was found shot to death in the Towne Taxi cab he had been driving for less than four months. Deger, a husband and father who lived in Colerain Township, was dead when police arrived. Deger was an independent cab driver for Towne Taxi.

2 Men Charged in Killing Of Officer at Newark School

Two members of the Bloods gang were charged yesterday with first-degree murder in the schoolyard shooting death on Monday of a Newark school police officer who had intervened in a fistfight between two teenage girls, the authorities said.

Investigators said Mr. Reeds had been found early yesterday at a house in Newark based on information provided by neighbors. The police said they believed Mr. Tindell fired the shot that killed Officer Dwayne Reeves, 35, and wounded a fellow officer, Akia Scott, 26, after they tried to break up the fight. Mr. Tindell was then shot by Officer Scott.

Braselton officer dies in wreck

A Braselton police officer on his way home from a 12-hour shift was killed Monday morning in a two-car wreck on Ga. 365. Karl Todd Helcher, a 34-year-old husband and father of four, was thrown from his police truck after a pickup sideswiped his vehicle near Mud Creek Road, said Trooper Cox with the Georgia State Patrol. Authorities took Helcher to Northeast Georgia Medical Center where he was pronounced dead on arrival, Cox said.

Man Dies After Being Run Over By Dump Truck

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Police said a man died Wednesday morning after he was died yesterday morning while doing repairs on the roof of Terminal C at Logan Airport, officials said. It was not clear how the man died, but it does not appear to be suspicious, a Massachusetts Port Authority spokesman said. The spokesman said he did not know the name of the man, who worked for Maintech, a company based in Wallington, N.J., or how he died. JetBlue officials referred calls to Maintech. No one could be reached there last night.

Man dies while installing utility line

FLORENCE -- A worker was killed Thursday in an industrial accident at Griffin Pipe Products.

Police and company officials said the accident occurred in the afternoon at the company on West Front Street. The worker was identified as Glenn Riley, a 27-year veteran of the company, said company spokesman Joseph Starosta.

Details of the accident were unavailable from police and company officials Thursday night. Starosta said the company is cooperating with federal, state and local authorities in the investigation.

Trucker dies in Thruway crash

Oneida, NY -- A woman was killed Tuesday in Oneida when she drove her tandem tractor-trailer off the shoulder of the Thruway and into a large tree head-on, state police said.

The driver was traveling west near Thruway mile marker 258 when she veered off the right shoulder of the road, troopers said. No other vehicles were involved, said Sgt. Michael White, of Troop T.

Contractor died in accident

Bellingham, WA -- Walter Rohde, 68, has been identified as the man who died Saturday evening when he was pinned under the bulldozer he had been operating after it rolled down an embankment.

Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo released the man’s name Monday. Rohde, of 5047 Noon Road, was a contractor and owner of Rohde Contractors, Elfo said.

He apparently had been unloading the bulldozer from a trailer on High Noon Road, about two miles from his home, when the side of the road gave way, tilting the trailer and sending the bulldozer rolling 10 feet down the embankment. Rohde was pinned under the bulldozer.

Cab driver killed in overnight crash

Skokie, IL -- A taxi driver was killed and his passenger was injured in an overnight crash involving a cab, a sport-utility vehicle and a tree in north suburban Skokie, CLTV reported.

The accident happened shortly before midnight near Golf Road and Salem Circle, police said. The taxi and the SUV collided, and the cab then slammed into a tree.

Firefighters using special equipment opened the damaged taxi, rescued the cabbie and his passenger and took both victims to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston.

The driver, James Wells, of the 1000 block of Emerson Street, Evanston, was pronounced dead at the hospital at 12:01 a.m., according to a spokewoman for the Cook County medical examiner's office.

Worker dies installing outdoor light

Charlotte, NC -- A person died in a possible electrocution Wednesday afternoon while installing a light outside a northwestern Charlotte home. Duke Power had hired American Lighting & Signalization to install an outdoor safety light in the backyard of a home in the 100 block of South Turner Avenue, said Lucinda Trew, a Duke Power spokeswoman. But shortly after 3 p.m., Medic, the county's ambulance service, was called to the home on what was initially labeled a cardiac arrest, said Eric Morrison, a Medic spokesman.

The worker, whose name was not available, was soon pronounced dead. The cause of death appeared to have been electrocution, Morrison said.