Friday, June 30, 2006

Tragic, Yes. Bizarre, No

Webster's Dictionary defines "bizarre" as: "strikingly out of the ordinary."

Now, read this.
Worker killed in Webster Parish plant accident

SAREPTA, La. A bizarre accident at a plastic car parts plant in Webster Parish has claimed the life of a woman. It happened at Continental Structural Plastics in Sarepta.

Authorities say Colotha Gates was loading her machine and someone apparently tripped the machine accidentally, causing the press to come down and crush her skull. Gates later died from her injury.

The company molds plastic parts for all types of vehicles.

The Webster Parish Sheriff's Office is investigating.
This is, unfortunately not strikingly out of the ordinary. Getting crushed in a machine that is accidentally turned on is, unfortunately, striking common enough that there's an OSHA standard designed to prevent such tragedies. It's technical name is "Control of Hazardous Energy," (29 CFR 1910.147), but it's commonly known as the "Lockout Tagout Standard."

What that means is that before a worker puts any part of his or her body inside a machine, it has to either be locked out (so that only that worker can turn it back on) or tagged out (warning other workers not to turn on the machine.)

According to OSHA:
"Lockout/Tagout (LOTO)" refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.

Approximately 3 million workers service equipment and face the greatest risk of injury if lockout/tagout is not properly implemented.
Three million workers facing the same hazard is not "bizarre." What would be bizarre is if Colotha Gates' employer is found to be out of compliance with the lockout-tagout standard and gets away with only a relatively small fine.

On the other hand, that would not be "out of the ordinary" for OSHA. Tragic, yes. But unfortunately not bizarre.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Lobbyists Gone Wild. Workers Pay The Price

Just a little reminder of how your government works.

First, we have a note from our friends at the Industrial Minerals Association of North America (IMA-NA), which is "is committed to measures that support freedom and promote our essential products," according to its legislative Action Alert. (Perhaps one of my readers could explain to me the connection between "supporting freedom" and "promoting their essential products.")

The IMA-NA is asking its members to call their Congressional representatives to in support of Charlie Norwood's "Workplace Safety and Health Transparency Act of 2006" (H.R. 5554). HR 5554, as you may remember, is the chemical gag rule that would, among other things, keep any voluntary industry chemical standards from being listed on Material Safety Data Sheets that workers use to determine the possible health hazards of the chemicals they are being exposed to.

One of the IMA-NA's "essential products" is industrial sand, "a term normally applied to high purity silica sand products." Silica, which can cause fatal diseases like silicosis. And evidence has been building for years that silica also causes cancer.

In fact, silica provides the prime example of how Norwood's bill, if enacted, would mean death for workers exposed to silica. Ten years ago, the International Association for Research on Cancer (IARC) designated silica to be a carcinogen (a chemical that causes cancer) and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) lowered its Threshold Limit Value. Since then, the evidence of silica's carcinogenicity has grown and OSHA -- which still enforces a hopelessly outdated 1966 standard, is currently working on a revision. Yet it is exactly these IARC and ACGIH standards that Norwood's bill would keep off MSDSs and away from workers eyes'.

I guess that's what the IMA-NA means by "supporting freedom" -- the freedom, in the words of George Washington University professor David Michaels, for chemical producers and users to "continue to expose workers and the public to deadly hazards, and do so without interference by public health authorities and without the threat of legal action by those injured by their negligence."

Meanwhile the giant corporate lawfirm Patton Boggs is managing to make some money 0ff the recently passed MINER Act, the recently passed reform of the Mine Safety and Health Act.

Patton Boggs attorneys Marc Savit and Henry Chajet are offering seminars on the MINER act and new mining regulations. I wrote recently about a speech Savit made complaining that all the political and public relations problems those troublesome mine disasters have been causing the mining industry. Chajet, meanwhile, along with Patton Boggs, have been the prime movers behind Charlie Norwood's "Workplace Safety and Health Transparency Act of 2006" (see above).

Now there's nothing wrong with educating people about new legislation. The problem I have is with Patton Boggs' advertising materials where they boast:
Among the nation’s premier mine safety attorneys, Chajet and Savit have successfully defended thousands of MSHA investigations and enforcement cases, improved MSHA enforcement definitions and procedures through lobbying and litigation victories, taught thousands of management personnel their rights and duties and inspection strategies, and helped make MSHA policy as operator-friendly as possible, given its inherent faults and difficulties.
"Thousands" of investigations and enforcement cases? Busy men. And is making MSHA policy "as operator friendly as possible" supposed to be a good thing? Not for the miners.

The Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 directs the Secretary of Labor "to require that each operator of a coal or other mine and every miner in such mine comply with [MSHA] standards," not to be "as operator friendly as possible."

Of course, that was before Patton Boggs was running things in this town.

OSHA Announces New Grant Program

OSHA is seeking proposals for $6.8 million in 1- year health and safety training grant from non-profit organizations.
The grants are targeted to organizations that propose to conduct training programs to educate Hispanic and other limited English proficiency employees, hard-to-reach workers, employers in small businesses, and workers who are employed in high-hazard industries and industries with high fatality rates.
OSHA notes that community-based and faith-based organizations are eligible to apply. Labor unions are also eligible to apply, although OSHA doesn't mention them by name.
You may think that this is one of those rare times when I praise OSHA for doing the right thing. Wrong. The Bush administration has tried to first slash, and then kill the Susan Harwood training program for the past six years, but Congress has restored the funding every year.

The grants will focus on three main areas: constructoin hazards, general industry hazards and "other" areas such as disaster response and recovery; hexavalent chromium; workplace emergency planning, including the healthcare industry; and overview of OSHA safety and health requirements for tribal organizations.

Applications will be available on OSHA's web site at or may be obtained from the OSHA Office of Training and Education, Division of Training and Educational Programs, 2020 South Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights, Ill., 60005, telephone (847) 297-4810

Grant applications are due to the OSHA Office of Training and Education in Arlington Heights, Illinois, by 4:30 p.m. (central time) on Friday, July 21, 2006.

So get busy.

Oops, Sorry About That Chief -- Blaming The Worker

Store this one in your overloaded "Stupid Blame The Worker Stories" file. It's a story that could form a scene in the chemical plant equivalent of the movie "Airplane."
A worker hit the wrong switch and shut down a major Ontario (Canada) plastics plant, costing the company a pile of cash.

Reuters reported a worker accidentally tripped a shut-off switch at Nova Chemicals last week, and the mistake will cost $11 million in lost profit because it won’t be able to fulfill some contracts.

A contractor’s employee installing a structural steel platform at an ethylene plant in Corunna, Ontario, mistakenly activated a process shutdown switch, stopping production and forcing two weeks of repairs at the facility.

“The switch is a safety thing, so if anyone sees something going wrong, they have the opportunity to shut down the plant,” said Nova spokesperson Greg Wilkinson. “But that’s not what happened here. It was not a safety issue. It was simply inadvertent.”
Now, ask yourself, who's fault was this, the worker, or the idiot who designed a plant shut-down switch that someone can "inadvertently" activate?

What's going to happen to the worker?
Nova has launched an investigation into just how the worker hit the button, but the company said its priority is repairing the facility.

Nova’s spokesperson said later Wednesday that the company has decided to await the results of its inquiry before making any decision on potential penalties. However, [Greg]Wilkinson said he has some sympathy for the worker.
Wilkinson added that
"We haven't even thought about that at this point, but I'm sure they're feeling very disappointed," he said.

"Our focus right now is on getting the plant back up and running and figure out how we can avoid this in the future."
Here's an idea: Redesign the damn switch!

And let's just hope that the genious who designed the thing doesn't have a contract to design jumbo jets or nuclear power plants.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Opposition Grows To DOE's Plan To Eliminate Worker Safety Office

Opposition is mounting to Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman's plan to dismantle DOE's Office of Environment, Safety and Health (ES&H), eliminating the Assistant Secretary and submerging its functions into the DOE Office that oversees security. At the same time, Bodman's excuses for the move smack more and more like a cave-in to DOE's corporate contractors. The Governors of New Mexico and Washington, three former Assistant Secretaries, the United Steelworkers union, the AFL-CIO's Building and Construction Trades Department, Congressmen Bart Stupak (D-MI), Ted Strickland (D-OH) and John Dingel (D-MI) have written letters to Bodman opposing the changes.

According to the Los Alamos Monitor, Heidi Kelsey of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Newsbulletin reported that Bodman delivered a video address to the laboratory where he
"emphasized safety, responsibility and personal accountability," in his closed-circuit talk from the Forrestal Building in Washington, D.C.

"Bodman expressed concerns about an increase in the number of accidents across the DOE complex and called for improvement in safety oversight," she wrote. Among the department's accomplishments noted was "balancing safety with cost effectiveness."

But the secretary is also reported to have said that there was a need for change and that those changes would "focus on establishing a safer work environment through individual accountability, enhancing performance due to collaboration throughout the complex and considering DOE's financial responsibility to the American taxpayer," as Kelsey summarized a portion of the talk.
Bodman was apparently not very convincing:
Answers were provided for questions such as, "Will ES&H get lost in the security organization?"

The answer: "No, security and safety will be equal partners."
How do we know that? The current Office of Security and Safety will "flip" the terms to become the Office of Safety and Security.

OK, I feel much better now.

In their letter to Bodman, the three former Assistant Secretaries of ES&H,
Paul Ziemer (1990-93), Tara O'Toole (1993-1997) and David Michaels (1998-2002) warned that, given the focus of contractors as well as DOE field managers on production schedules, the action would "reinforce the view that environment, safety, health and security concerns are not a high priority for the Department."

Steelworkers President Leo Gerard
addressed the elimination of the Assistant Secretary's, a position that is confirmed by and accountable to Congress.
It is hard to imagine that the best safety option is consolidating safety functions in a lower tier organization under the leadership of a career individual who is not accountable to Congress.
Governors Richardson and Gregoire pointed out that absent any external studies that showed that the Department is ineffectual and dysfunctional, "there appears to be no compelling reason that the Department needs to reduce or change its function." They also expressed concern that DOE's former medical screening program will lose institutional support if the Department is dismantled.
The screening program has identified over 1,000 cases of beryllium-related illness in former workers, which not only fulfills a corporate responsibility to cold war era workers, but its work informs future health and safety policy by quantifying the consequences of inadequate worker protections.
But, Bodman might ask,
are we "balancing safety with cost effectiveness?"

Summertime: And The Arguing Comes Easy

Yes, it's summer. Vacation time. Endless days spent hiking, swimming and sunning. Endless nights spent arguing with your Republican brother-in-law about politics.

Well, our friend Nathan Newman has you covered for at least one debate: Why Unions? (Short answer: human dignity, increased pay, increased productivity, and the engine of progessive politics).

So go print yourself out a copy, take it with you on that long plane ride and you'll be ready to go into battle. But don't get carried away. Just remember that vacations can also be time to reassess your priorities and decide what's really important in life. Take some time to mellow out. And this being an election year, I'm sure we'll can all agree on some common goals, in the timeless words of Conan the Barbarian:

To crush your enemies
To see them driven before you
To hear the lamentations of their women

Collective Bargaining News For Labor Leaders

The AFL-CIO Collective Bargaining Department is offering a new service, the Collective Bargaining Digest, a daily newsfeed and commentary sent to over 700 AFL-CIO union leaders.

The Digest includes general labor news, news by industry sector and other bargaining related news including "Organizing, Bargaining Rights and Union-busting" as well as "Health Benefits, Workers Compensation and Safety & Health."

You have to be a local union leader to sign up. If you're interested, click here and fill out the form, or send an e-mail to Bargaining@Work .

When you're information is verified, you'll be added to the list.

Every Move You Make: Hi Tech Solution To The Immigrant Problem

How did I miss this?

I got an e-mail today from a friend across the seas who wondered if this was real:
Proposal to Implant Tracking Chips in Immigrants
By Bill Christensen

Scott Silverman, Chairman of the Board of VeriChip Corporation, has proposed implanting the company's RFID tracking tags in immigrant and guest workers. He made the statement on national television on May 16.

Silverman was being interviewed on "Fox & Friends." Responding to the Bush administration's call to know "who is in our country and why they are here," he proposed using VeriChip RFID implants to register workers at the border, and then verify their identities in the workplace. He added, "We have talked to many people in Washington about using it...."

The VeriChip is a very small Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag about the size of a large grain of rice. It can be injected directly into the body; a special coating on the casing helps the VeriChip bond with living tissue and stay in place. A special RFID reader broadcasts a signal, and the antenna in the VeriChip draws power from the signal and sends its data. The VeriChip is a passive RFID tag; since it does not require a battery, it has a virtually unlimited life span.

RFID tags have long been used to identify animals in a variety of settings; livestock, laboratory animals and pets have been "chipped" for decades. Privacy advocates have long expressed concerns about this technology being used in human beings.
"Dude," I informed him, "Of course it's real." This is America -- beacon of those yearning to be free -- and we're under attack by hordes of darkskinned people streaming practically unimpeded across our border. Who's to say one of them won't decide chuck a grenade into a tank of hydrofluoric acid at the neighborhood chemical plant while on his way down to pick tomatoes? And I'm surprised President Bush hasn't picked it up. It's the perfect way to make sure his proposed "guest workers" don't overstay their welcome.

But these don't really deal with the aliens entering illegally. They clearly need to be tagged before coming over the border. There may be some support for this. According to the same article,
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe allegedly remarked that microchips could be used to track seasonal workers to visiting U.S. senators Jeff Sessions (Alabama) and Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania). "President Uribe said he would consider having Colombian workers have microchips implanted in their bodies before they are permitted to enter the US for seasonal work," Specter told Congress on April 25.
I'm sure we can work something out with other Latin American leaders, perhaps foreign aid targeted at tagging people at birth.

But why stop there? These are just passive tags that only be read from a few feet away like a supermarket scanning codes. Surely we can figure out how to implant GPS trackers so we know where they all are at all times. But we can go further. All of you who saw Mission Impossible III remember the mini-bombs implanted in agents' brains (through their noses) so that if they escape, the bad guys can liquefy their brains by remote control. That'll teach those illegals to overstay their welcome.

Clearly this technology has domestic applications as well. We could implant all workers with chips that contain work (union organizing) history, medical (job injury) history, legal (frivolous lawsuit) history, etc. And it could keep workers from wondering places they shouldn't be and talking (organizing) people they shouldn't be talking to.

(Oops, someone already thought of that. Damn.)

Hell, it's such a good idea, I may just go out and get chipped myself. No more having to worry about forgetting my ID when I fly. In fact, I'll chip the whole family. I'll finally know where my kids really are. (Oops somebody already thought of that too -- and he's an ex-cabinet secretary.)

And with immigrant and labor issues resolved, our legislators can finally focus on things that really matter, like the epidemic of flag burning, saving the lives of the pre-born and the undead, and prohibiting man-on-dog marriage.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Capitol Tunnel Syndrome

I wrote in March about the 100 year old utility tunnels between the US Capitol building that are daving in and filled with crumbling asbestos and how Architect of the Capitol Alan Hantman admitted that he had not done enough to protect workers. Capitol management had apparently known for years about the asbestos, but hadn't even warned the workers to wear respirators.

The tunnel workers are working with Public Citizen's Congress Watch to get legal advice, and they received medical examinations that show evidence that the asbestos may have already damaged some workers' health
During a meeting with Public Citizen on June 7, [tunnel supervisor John] Thayer told the crew and congressional staff members present that routine tests for asbestos only began after the crew wrote a letter alerting members of Congress to the dangerous working conditions.

“The samples [from asbestos tests] we were getting ... were 30 times over the legal limit,” Thayer said during the meeting. “I’ve been there for 22 years. I’ve never worn a respirator until March 16, 2006. I have had problems with my lungs.”

Thayer and several members of his crew have been treated for respiratory illnesses. Thayer has been diagnosed with scarring of the lungs, a symptom of asbestosis, a respiratory disease caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos exposure has also been linked to mesothelioma, a deadly lung cancer that can develop 20-40 years after inhalation of the fibers.
The situation now seems to be going from bad to worse. When one of the AoC workers, Christian Raley, went to the Office of the Attending Physician (OAP) to obtain his medical records last week, he was told that everyone's medical records had been shipped to another facility. When the workers protested that they hadn't give their permission, attending physician, Wesley Mills.
told him and other members of the tunnel shop who were listening on a speaker phone that the AoC owned the records and that AoC officials “could do what they wanted with them” and could send them “wherever they deemed necessary.”

“They took my records without asking me,” Raley said. “Now I can’t go to my doctor because I don’t have my records.”

Other members of the team reacted with outrage over what they perceived as a violation of their privacy.

“AoC feels they have the right to do whatever they want with the records without any input from the patients themselves,” said one tunnel team member who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation. “We are not owned by the AoC to be treated without any compassion whatsoever.”
Finally, check out this comment from one of the "tunnel rats." What a nightmare: one "tunnel rat" has a stress-related stroke, people are caught sneaking into the tunnels for what? Parts of the tunnel continue to collapse without warning. Asbestos-contaminated air gets blown outside for the public to breathe, and the money allocated for cleanup is being wasted on other things, and they've gotten the workers a shrink.

What a country!

No One's Died Yet, So What's The Problem?

BUFORD, GA — A construction worker was trapped up to his chest in dirt when a trench collapsed Friday morning, but co-workers helped dig him out before firefighters began rescue operations.

The laborer was installing a sewer line for Metropolitan Land Development, a Lilburn-based company cited five times in the past three years for serious violations involving trench safety, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Web site
The trench was reported to be 18-20 feet deep. OSHA requires trenches over 5 feet deep to have a protective trench box or to be shored or sloped against collapse.

Now, here's something I don't understand. OSHA assistant area director Bill Cochran said that a serious violation could result in a $7,000 fine. That's true, but given previous citations against the company, I would think that a willful citation -- carrying a $70,000 fine -- would be in order.
In 2003, Metropolitan Land Development was cited for two serious violations involving trenching hazards and ordered to pay OSHA $2,000 in an informal settlement. In 2004, the company was cited three times for trenching safety violations and fined $9,000, according to inspection reports posted on OSHA's Web site.
And one more thing. Rare among trench collapse articles, the author points out that why even partial trench collapses are potentially deadly:
Capt. Scott Kennedy, who supervises the tactical rescue team for Gwinnett County Fire Department, said trench collapses are often fatal. Just one cubic foot of dirt can weigh between 100 to 150 pounds, so a trench collapse can restrict breathing and blood flow to the point that it becomes deadly.
Or put another way, a cubic yard of soil weights about 2700 pounds, the weight of a mid-sized automobile. A trench collapse may contain three to five cubic yards of soil. Do the math.

Conclusion #1: This guy was damn lucky.

Conclusion #2: Put these guys in jail before they kill someone.

Food and Drug Administration: The Agency Industry Is Paying To Get

Well this is certainly a shocker:
A 15-month inquiry by a top House Democrat has found that enforcement of the nation's food and drug laws declined sharply during the first five years of the Bush administration.

For instance, the investigation found, the number of warning letters that the Food and Drug Administration issued to drug companies, medical device makers and others dropped 54 percent, to 535 in 2005 from 1,154 in 2000.

The seizure of mislabeled, defective or dangerous products dipped 44 percent, according to the inquiry, pursued by Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, the senior Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee.
And the decline in enforcement is not a result of does not a result of goo behavior:
The research found no evidence that such declines could be attributed to increased compliance with regulations. Investigators at the F.D.A. continued to uncover about the same number of problems at drug and device companies as before, Mr. Waxman's inquiry found, but top officials of the agency increasingly overruled the investigators' enforcement recommendations.
But on't worry, say industry representatives, these are only paperwork violations.

In one prominent case, in December 2000, a worker at a nursing home in Xenia, Ohio, mistakenly hooked up a tank of nitrogen gas to the home's oxygen delivery system. Four residents died.

In the months that followed, investigators for the agency concluded that the company that delivered the tanks, BOC Gases, was partly to blame for the mix-up, given what they deemed inadequacy of the company's own controls and employee training. Indeed, BOC had a "corporate-wide problem," F.D.A. documents at the time said. The investigators recommended prosecution, but the agency took no enforcement action.

Kristina Schurr, a spokeswoman for BOC, said that the company's controls had not been to blame but that in any case it had improved its procedures since then.
We're innocent and we promise not to do it again.

Aside from this administration's well-known closeness with the industries it's supposed to be regulating, there may be another cause of this problem:
Dr. Sidney M. Wolfe, director of the Health Research Group at the watchdog organization Public Citizen, noted that the agency now received about $380 million a year in fees from drug makers.

"The public," Dr. Wolfe said, "is getting the kind of F.D.A. that the industry is paying for them to get."
Full report here.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Things I've Learned Over The Past 24 Hours

  1. Maps like this are bad news -- especially when they look like this for days.

  2. Despite what corporate America says, excessive lifting (about 35 large buckets of water into the basement sink last night) causes back injuries (as I lie in bed with my trusty computer and not-so-trusty dogs.)

  3. Backs wear out faster than other parts of the body. When a little voice tells you "Dude, take it easy. Remember, your ancestors would have been dead by now," you should listen.

  4. When your kid gets to be around 15, he can actually be helpful.

  5. It could always be worse: Sewage-Infested Flood Forces Evacuation.

Now, where was that bottle of ibuprofin?

Workplace Violence: What It Mostly Is, What It Mostly Isn't

About once a year, I need to go through the tedious process of straightening the world out about workplace violence. The current round was stimulated by this article, "Workplace violence can be predicted, experts say." The article goes on to note that "Nationally, more than 20,000 incidents of workplace violence are reported each year, ranging from verbal threats and unwanted sexual advances to pinching and pummeling."

But then it starts going off the deep end. After informing us that
the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that workplace violence is most likely to occur on Mondays, from 8 a.m. until noon. And violent employees are most frequently men aged 35 to 44 who have been with their employer for one to five years,
the article then drags out its main example to illustrate that workplace violence can be prevented: Edgewater Technology Inc. in Wakefield, Mass., where a 42-year-old computer software tester shot and killed seven coworkers in 2000. According to the facility manager, in retrospect, there were numerous warning signs of a "troubled employee," including mood swings, changes in appearance, a messy divorce, a previous workers comp complaint for stress, fascination with weapons and explosives and a diagnosis of schizophernia.

Luckily, in these post 9/11 days, there's solutions at hand:
Matthew Cabral, an inspector for the federal protective service for the Department of Homeland Security, said that since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, companies and government offices have increased security with metal detectors, bulletproof glass and concrete barriers that appear decorative, such as flowerpots, to prevent people from driving into buildings.
Now, all of this is well and fine. It's possible that if the employer were more attuned to this man's problems, and if they had a decent Employee Assistance Program, the incident might have been prevented.

But this whole anecdote misses the point about the problem of workplace violence in this country. Less than ten percent of workplace homicides result from what's known as "worker-on-worker" violence -- where a current or former employees comes into the workplace and shoots or stabs former co-workers or supervisors.

The vast majority of workplace violence consists of retail workers being attacked during robberies, taxi drivers being robbed, health care and social service workers being attacked by patients and clients, and security personnel (law enforcement or private security guards) being attacked by violent individuals.

Just as an example, take a look at the list below, most of which was pulled from the latest "Weekly Toll," a list of workers killed on the job over the past two weeks. Only one of these can be considered "worker-on-worker" violence.

Builder security worker slain
Family Hopes $10K Reward Will Lead To Slain Worker's Killers
5 arrested in county worker's death
US agent among two dead in Florida prison gunfight
Cab Driver Found Dead In North Miami Beach Taxi

Hack's rare night shift proved deadly
Restaurant manager fatally shot in robbery
Pawn shop owner killed in Easley
Tattoo shop owner found dead
Liquor store clerk shot dead
Taxi Driver Found Dead Next To Cab
Gunman kills owner of store: This is fourth time in seven weeks a clerk in Modesto has been shot
Officer, Suspect Killed in Texas Standoff
Cordele store manager fatally stabbed
Security guard shot, killed near Victorville nightclub
Co-worker charged in fatal shooting
Pizza deliveryman, robbed and shot, dies of injuries
Video poker worker murdered
2 charged in slaying of parking attendant
Arrest made in death of liquor store owner

The premise of the article, however, is true: most of these incidents can be prevented. There are definite risk factors in retail establishments that can be addressed:
  • Working with money.
  • Working alone
  • Working late nights
  • Working in dangerous neighborhoods
In fact, in the late 1990's, OSHA published to workplace violence guidelines for health care workers and for late night retail workers, in addition to numerous fact sheets, and cites tons of literature describing steps employers can take to prevent workplace assaults. In addition, the state of New Mexico has issued a late night convenience store violence standard that requires convenience stores open between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. either to have two workers on duty, or one clerk and a security guard, or to install bulletproof glass or other safety features to limit access to store employees. The state of Washington enforces a "Late Night Retail Workers Crime Protection Act" which requires annual crime prevention training, drop-safes or limited access safes, and outside lighting.

Numerous labor unions and the American Public Health Association have called on OSHA to issue a workplace violence standard. Meanwhile, responding to the high level of threats and assaults against public employees, New YorkGovernor George Patacki signed a bill earlier this month calling for managers of government worksites where at least 20 permanent full-time employees work to assess the sites' potential for violence. That bill and two others have been a major focus of public employee union organizing.

The good news is that workplace homicides have been declining over the past few years, from 1080 in 1994 to 551 this year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bad news is that workplace homicides generally track the overall crime rate, which rose sharply last year after a downward trend over the past decade. Judging from the number of homicides in the average Weekly Toll, the workplace number may be rising again too.

The problem with articles like this is that they take the attention away from where the problem really lies. But, as I've written before, it's much more tempting to focus on the mentally unstable worker -- often postal workers -- who would come into work armed to the teeth and blow away their bosses and a few co-workers for good measure. These were fashionable because, unlike the unfashionable crowed, they got lots of press and provided fodder for armies of consultants who would scare employers into paying large sums for how to screen job applicants (or current employees) who might turn violent.

The bottom line is that any workplace violence policy should focus on the real risks of violence. While employers should be trained to deal with potentially unstable workers, it does little good to start profiling workers in a futile attempt to predict when one may go over the edge, while in the real workplace, workers are actually getting attacked by criminals and clients.

Related Stories

Workers Comp Insider On "The Lonely Death of Octavio Godinez"

Tragic story of a immigrant worker, working alone, who injured himself, tried to drive himself to the hospital, but didn't make it.
I wonder if Godinez knew exactly where the hospital was - he was from out of state (Indiana) and was visiting with his in-laws to earn some money for his wife and son. I wonder if he had any training in emergency first aid. I wonder what kind of medical supplies were available at the jobsite. I wonder why he decided to drive himself, as opposed to calling for an ambulance. Did he have any insurance or was he an "independent contractor," side by side with his father-in-law, another "independent contractor." What went through his mind as he tried to figure out what to do?
Update: Godinez's wife, writing in the comment below, notifies us that he was not an immigrant and that her father, for whom he was working, had workers comp insurance. My apologies for the mistake.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Weekly Toll: Death In The American Workplace

A partial list of American Workers Killed On The Job Over The Past Two Weeks.

Construction worker dies in fall at Stanford Stadium site

Palo Alto, CA - A construction worker who was part of the Stanford Stadium renovation crew fell to his death on Thursday, officials said. The Santa Clara County coroner's office identified the man as Michael Carter, 26, of Stockton. Carter fell about 23 feet to the ground from an erected structure at about 9:35 a.m., according to Phil Capin, a construction project manager for Vance Brown Builder, the contractor in charge of the project. Carter, who worked for a subcontractor, was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, Capin said.

Railroad Worker Killed In Gloucester

GLOUCESTER MA -- A worker for the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Company was killed Thursday following an accident on the tracks in Gloucester.

The incident happened around 3:30 p.m. while the worker was using heavy equipment during routine maintenance of railroad ties.

The unidentified man was pronounced dead at Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester.

Company that employed killed worker had past violations

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- A North Berwick (Maine) man who died after touching a power line at a Portsmouth (New Hampshire) work site was employed by a company with a history of violations. Foster's Daily Democrat reports that Ultimate Exteriors Incorporated, a North Berwick roofing company, was cited three times by the Labor Department for serious violations at a Dover site in 2003, including one for protective headgear. Thirty-three-year-old William Woodard Junior was killed last Friday while working on a roof. Another worker was mildly electrocuted when he tried to help Woodard.


HEATH, NJ — A 42-year-old woman was killed today in Heath in an industrial incident at Polymer Technologies and Services.

Julia A. Arick, of Newark, fell into a large machine used to blend dry plastic materials. Heath EMS personnel found Arick dead upon their arrival to 1835 James Parkway in the Mid-Ohio Industrial Park.

Arick was an employee at the Michigan-based processing and recycling company located off Ohio 79 in southern Heath. She operated the machine and was working alone when a co-worker discovered she was not at her workstation.

After a short search, the co-worker found Arick had fallen into the blender bin and called 911.

Builder security worker slain

Tucson, AZ - A 49-year-old man working for a private security company was shot to death at a new housing development near Tucson, an official said Thursday. Construction workers arriving at work at 4:44 a.m. discovered the body of Delbert Anderson lying dead on the ground on El Camino Viejo Road near Highway 60, said Pinal County Sheriff's Department Lt. Kaye Dickson.

Electric worker killed when pole snaps

Camden, TN -- Benton County Electric System employee Jimmy Wagner was killed Sunday night when this electrical pole that he was working on snapped causing him to fall 30-40 feet.
A routine operation turned tragic Sunday night when a Benton County Electric System employee, Jimmy Wagner, 30, was fatalily injured while working to restore power to residents on Danville Road in Big Sandy.

Autoliv assistant engineer killed in accident

Brigham City, UT - Lamonte Carroll, an assistant engineer at Autoliv's Brigham City facility, was killed early Thursday while performing maintenance on an inertia welder on a production line, according to a news release from the company. The accident occurred while the welder machine was partially disassembled for a troubleshooting activity and did not occur during normal production hours. Autoliv and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the accident.

Worker dies at Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY — A Port Chester electrician who died after swinging a sledgehammer in a ditch at the Yonkers Raceway yesterday was passionate about the outdoors and his work, loved ones said. Dennis Baron, 45, of EJ Electrical Installation in New York City, was pronounced dead at St. Joseph's Hospital after he was found lying unconscious in a trench used for electrical conduits at the raceway, said police Capt. Frank Bruno. At the time of the 7:30 a.m. incident, Baron was using his sledgehammer to break through the foundation of a wall. Police found a single hole in the wall and the tool lying on the ground next to Baron, Bruno said.

Construction worker killed while picking up traffic cones in Md.

Baltimore, MD -- A construction worker was run over and killed this afternoon in a construction zone along U.S. 301 in Queen Anne’s County, Md.

About 5 p.m., 21-year-old Robert William Kahl and a co-worker were picking up traffic cones for American Infrastructure near mile marker 101, Maryland State Police said. Kahl was standing on the tailgate, pulling cones from the road, while his 37-year-old co-worker backed the vehicle south.

For unknown reasons, Kahl fell off the tailgate and the vehicle ran over him, police said.

Worker crushed to death by crane in Livermore

LIVERMORE, CA - A crane operator died Thursday afternoon in a construction accident when the machine's heavy arm crushed the control booth. The accident was reported at 1:18 p.m. from a work site on North Livermore Avenue near May School Road in unincorporated Alameda County, the California Highway Patrol said. When Alameda County fire and rescue crews arrived they found Fred John Silvester, 56, crushed inside the cabin by the weight of the arm, Alameda County Fire battalion chief Dave Rocha said. Silvester, a Gustine resident, was pronounced dead at the scene. Silvester was part of a crew working on some power poles. He was lifting a large spool of cable with the crane when the machine toppled over, Rocha said. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is investigating the accident. Aided by two heavy equipment cranes, it took rescue crews five hours to extricate Silvester, Rocha said. The recovery operation was expected to keep North Livermore Avenue between May School and Morgan Territory closed until around 1:30 a.m. Friday.

Family Hopes $10K Reward Will Lead To Slain Worker's Killers

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Family members of a man found dead inside a Raleigh restaurant earlier this month hope a $10,000 reward will generate new leads that will help solve the homicide case. An employee found Leroy Jernigan dead on the floor of Circus Restaurant on June 3. Raleigh police said Jernigan was shot to death while cleaning the night before. "I pray every day that whoever did this terrible thing to this family -- that they'll be brought to justice," said Judy Maurer, who found Jernigan's body.

Electrician plunges to his death

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, NJ -- An electrician working at a township industrial site fell 32 feet to his death yesterday when the lift truck he was operating overturned. Dennis Treude Jr., 32, of Fairless Hills, Pa. was dead at the scene shortly before 9 a.m., township police said. Treude, an employee of Hatzel and Buehler electrical contractors, was using a scissor lift to install lighting inside a warehouse being built at the Matrix Business Park, according to police and company officials. "It hit a hole in the ground and tipped over," said Washington Police Lt. Dominick Botteri. "He fell to the ground." Treude died of massive head injuries, Botteri said. Police have concluded there was no foul play. "We're treating this as an industrial accident," Botteri said. Hatzel and Buehler Inc. is a national electrical company with several branch offices, including one in Hamilton Township. The company was contracted by McMas ter-Carr to do work on a warehouse in the office park off Old York Road, company officials said.

5 arrested in county worker's death

Phoenix, AZ - A missing Maricopa County employee has been found dead, the victim of a brutal murder, county officials said Thursday. During an afternoon press conference, Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced the arrest of five suspects, three men and two women, in the beating death of Blake Stewart, 47, saying Stewart, while on duty, was lured to a south Phoenix address with the intent of robbing him. "This case demonstrates how this violent society requires adults and children to be cautious about setting up a rendezvous with a total stranger," Arpaio said. Stewart's body was dumped near Interstate 17 and New River Road after he was savagely beaten at a home in the 6400 block of South 23rd Street, Arpaio said. While still alive, he was tied up and placed on his county Chevrolet Astro Van, Arpaio said. While being driven to the New River address, he was beaten some more and assaulted with landscaping shears.

Road worker killed in Atlas Township, Man hit on M-15 by SUV Thursday morning

Atlas, MI - A Genesee County Road Commission worker was killed when an SUV hit him in the middle of the road Thursday morning. The accident happened along M-15 just south of Maple Avenue in Genesee County's Atlas Township. He has been identified as 48-year-old Dennis Bundy of Flushing. He is a former city of Flint employee who has worked for the county for the past four years. The accident happened around 9 a.m. Police say the worker was a part of county surveying crew. He was standing in the middle of M-15 when police say a tan Chevy Trailblazer traveling south at a high rate of speed hit the worker. He was knocked into the northbound lanes where the worker was then struck a second time by another car. Police say the worker died at the scene. The driver of the SUV was arrested. A fellow worker says these kinds of accidents really hit home. The driver of the SUV is in police custody. Police say he has checkered driving record and he may have been driving Thursday on suspended license.

US agent among two dead in Florida prison gunfight

TALLAHASSEE, Florida - A federal agent and a prison guard were shot dead and another worker was injured in a gunfight during an arrest attempt at a federal detention center in north Florida on Wednesday, the FBI said. Federal agents were trying to arrest six prison guards on corruption charges, including charges that some gave prisoners alcohol and other contraband in exchange for sex and money, an investigator said. One of the guards targeted for arrest opened fire and was shot dead, FBI spokesman Jeff Westcott said. An agent from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General was also killed, he said. Another prison worker was also shot and taken to a hospital, where his or her condition was unknown, Westcott said. The six guards were indicted on Tuesday on charges of conspiracy, bribery, witness tampering and mail fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's office in Tallahassee. The suspects had conspired for nearly three years to trade contraband for money and other payment, and would face 20 years in prison if convicted, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Area man killed in bulldozer accident

MANCHESTER, OH – According to the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, a 58-year-old man was killed in a bulldozer accident at 9 p.m. Friday at his home on state Route 41. John “Johnny” Robert Hord, 58, of Manchester was pronounced dead at the scene. Sgt. Jeff McCarty of the ACSO said, “Apparently, he (Hord) was working on a hillside behind his house. As he was pushing a pile of dirt, he went up over the top, and the dozer came over its’ point of balance and rocked forward, (the momentum) ejected him, and the dozer ran over him — 250 yards later, the dozer dropped over an embankment and turned over.” Hord’s wife, Renee, called 911. Hord was pronounced dead on the scene by Adams County Coroner Dr. Susan Duncan-Blanton.

Hundreds mourn firefighter killed while on duty

West Babylon, NY - Michael Greene died serving others. And the funeral Wednesday for the West Babylon volunteer firefighter killed in the line of duty had all the honors bestowed upon a fallen uniformed hero: Hundreds of firefighters in their dress blues and white gloves. Bagpipes wailing "Amazing Grace." Helicopters hovering over a church. The homily, however, was all about Michael Greene's life. "He lived serving others," the Rev. Joseph Pilsner told mourners gathered inside St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church on North Carll Avenue in Babylon. Greene, 43, a West Babylon volunteer firefighter who worked as a truck driver for Nabisco, was killed Friday when an electrified sign atop a Lindenhurst restaurant fatally shocked him.

OSHA To Investigate City Worker's Death

Sauk Rapids, Minn. - The state Occupational Safety and Health Administration was investigating the death of a Sauk Rapids city employee who was hit by a vehicle Monday as he emerged from a manhole. John Michael Ehlinger, 55, was later pronounced dead at St. Cloud Hospital. On Tuesday morning, a makeshift memorial of a worker's vest, helmet and a cross was at the site. As assistant director of public works, Ehlinger was in charge of the water and sewer departments. Ehlinger started his career as a utility maintenance employee in March 2002. City Administrator Ross Olson said Ehlinger was dedicated to his job, but away from work he was a bit of a joker. "He was loved and respected by his colleagues," he said. Sauk Rapids Mayor Mark Campbell said Ehlinger "will be greatly missed."

Equipment failure leads to tree-trimming death

Wheatland, MO - The Camden County Sheriff's Department said in a Tuesday news release that a Wheatland man died Monday in a tree-trimming accident near Linn Creek. Clarence B. Nash, 50, was trimming trees near power lines using a "cherry-picker" bucket tractor. An equipment failure apparently caused the boom to fall, the report said. Nash, who was belted with a safety belt, was thrown from the bucket and suffered fatal injuries when he slammed against the tractor. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident, the report said.


UNION TWP. OH - A man working for an out of town company was killed when the boom truck, also known as a cherry picker, he was working in tipped over while the basket was extended about 20 feet in the air, said Lt. Scott Gaviglia of the Union Township Police Department. Union Township Police Department responded to the scene to investigate a reported traffic accident at 6:30 a.m. Monday, June 19, on School House Road, said Gaviglia. Investigators found that Carlos Flores, 21, was in the basket when the truck flipped and landed on School House Road, said Gaviglia. Flores suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Man crushed to death on farm

Yaphank, NY - Yaphank man who was apparently trying to repair equipment gets pinned between conveyer, metal fram. A 26-year-old man working on his family's Yaphank farm was crushed to death yesterday when he went under a topsoil-producing machine, presumably to unclog a jam, and got stuck between a metal frame and a conveyor belt, Suffolk police said. Alan R. Liere was working with a screening trommel sorting through plant material and converting it into topsoil at the Louis Liere Farms yesterday morning when the accident happened. Police said he may have noticed some incoming debris was clogged in the 70-foot-long, 15-feet-tall green, metal machine and gone underneath it with a shovel found nearby to investigate.

ICE officer dies in I-10 crash near Sierra Blanca

El Paso, TX - A deportation officer with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in El Paso died Sunday in a two-vehicle collision on Interstate 10 about six miles west of the Border Patrol checkpoint near Sierra Blanca, officials said. Michelle Turner, 36, was eastbound on the right-hand lane at about 10:30 a.m. when her 2003 Toyota Sequoia crashed into the rear of a tractor-trailer traveling in the same lane. She died at the scene, said Trooper David Rodriguez of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Turner was traveling with her two daughters, ages 14 and 4, to Del Rio, Texas. Her daughters, whose names were withheld, were airlifted to Thomason Hospital. The eldest girl reported having pain in her ribs and the youngest complained about neck pain. "My understanding is that they are both doing fine. They are just keeping them there for observation," Rodriguez said.

Auto Parts Store Employee Killed By Falling Car

ATLANTA, GA - The Atlanta Police Department says that an auto parts store employee is dead after a car fell on him this morning. Officials say the incident happened around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday morning at the store on 570 Glen Street in southwest Atlanta. The employee working on the car was killed. The name of the employee has not yet been released.

Heavy object falls on and kills worker at Palm Beach construction site

Palm Beach, FL - Esteban Perez, a Guatemalan national, died Saturday while working for a construction company that has seen at least one other employee die on the job. A crew from Murphy Construction Co. of West Palm Beach was working from a barge on an Intracoastal Waterway dock behind 1296 North Lake Way in the town of Palm Beach when a cable broke on a crane, dropping "a very heavy object" that hit Perez, 28, said Janet Kinsella, of the Palm Beach Police Department.

Tragedy highlights need for trench collapse training

FISHERS, IN — More than 30 firefighters and rescue team personnel from three area fire departments participated in a trench collapse rescue exercise Saturday just days after a Noblesville man died in a work-related accident. The Fishers, Carmel and Westfield Fire Departments were involved in the joint simulation as they worked in a controlled setting behind Don Hinds Ford on 126th Street and Indiana 37. Wayne Specht, 35, was killed Wednesday in Westfield when a trench he was working in collapsed. Steve White, Battalion Chief and Rescue Task Force team leader with the Fishers Fire Department, said incidents like that are the reason they must stay prepared at all times. “It's a necessary exercise for all of us,” he said. “They're not common emergencies, and even with the recent tragedy, the more training we have the better we will be in handling those types of situations.”

DelDOT Worker Killed in Bizarre Accident

MIDDLETOWN, Del. (AP)- A Delaware Department of Transportation employee is dead after an accident on Route 896 in Middletown Sunday afternoon. The Delaware State Police say the driver of a Dodge Neon drifted onto the shoulder and struck two DelDOT employees who were standing next to their parked trucks. Forty-two-year-old Phillip Nelson of Smyrna was killed. The other DelDOT worker, Matthew Gardner of Elsmere, was flown to Christiana Hospital, where he was in critical but stable condition. The police say the driver of the Neon had his window down, and an insect flew into his face. That caused him to brush at it and inadvertently pull the streering wheel to the right. The driver was identified as 24-year-old Dalton Milbourne of Manheim, Pa. The police say alcohol and speed are not believed to be factors in the crash.

Cab Driver Found Dead In North Miami Beach Taxi

MIAMI, FL - A man earning his living as a cab driver met an unfortunate fate when he was shot and killed Sunday in North Miami Beach. According to Miami Beach police, a number of area residents, early Sunday morning, heard shots in the area of 167th Street and 19th Ave. The residents left their residences to see where the shots had come from and noticed a man slumped in the driver’s seat of a taxi cab. It’s believed the actual incident took place in the eastside alleyway near 1870 Northeast 167th Street. Upon hearing the reports, they canvassed the area and found a man dead in his taxi. The driver, 48-year-old Rigaud Sylvain was allegedly robbed, shot and left in the taxi according to officials. There are no suspects at this time and the investigation is on-going. Police are urging anyone with information to contact Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

Grain elevator claims life, Death is second to occur since '03 at N. Topeka facility

Topeka, KS - North Topeka grain elevator Wednesday became the site of a fatal accident for the second time in less than three years. Scott Grossoehme, 36, of Mayetta, died in a Cargill Inc. grain elevator after he became submerged in corn. Grossoehme, who had worked at the elevator for less than a year, was moving grain with a co-worker when the accident occurred. Topeka Fire Chief Howard Giles said emergency management received a call for rescuers to go to the facility at 1845 N.W. Gordon, where a man had become trapped beneath a pile of grain in the truck dump elevators shortly before 1 p.m.

Anchorage man crushed by tree

Anchorage, AK - Anchorage man crushed by tree in accident near Old Glenn Highway. An Anchorage man was killed Saturday afternoon when a tree fell on him while he was clearing property, Alaska State Troopers said. Samuel Duncan Thomas III, 36, was working near Mile 3 of the Old Glenn Highway when the cottonwood tree crushed him, troopers said. Thomas was rushed to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead a short time later. The State Medical Examiner's Office and the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration were notified, troopers said. No foul play is suspected, officials said. The man's family was notified.

Pilot killed, co-pilot injured as plane hits Tampa home

TAMPA, Fla. — A plane releasing sterilized Mediterranean fruit flies skidded off a runway, crashed into a home and exploded, killing the pilot, officials said. Steve Huisman, 41, of Bradenton, was killed in the crash Monday, and co-pilot Sean Launder, 25, of Sarasota, was severely burned, Tampa Fire Rescue Capt. Bill Wade said. Both were employees of Dynamic Aviation in Bridgewater, Va.

Construction worker dies after falling 20 ft.

Gilbert, AZ - A construction worker died Wednesday after losing his balance and falling about 20 feet off the roof of a Gilbert retail center under construction. Jose Galvan-Regalado, 43, was a framer on the project. Gilbert fire responded to the call at about 2 p.m. Galvan-Regalado was flown to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn, where he later died of massive head injuries, according to fire officials.

Collision kills Rancho Cucamonga city worker

Rancho Cucamonga, CA-A city of Rancho Cucamonga employee was killed and an Omnitrans driver injured this morning in a three-vehicle accident involving a city work truck, a transit van for the disabled and a dump truck, authorities said.The Omnitrans vehicle was empty except for the driver, who was rushed to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, said Durand Rall, general manager for the transit agency. Investigators said the driver of a Rancho Cucamonga city vehicle was killed. Rancho Cucamonga city offices are closed today and calls for comment were not immediately returned. Rall said the van involved in the accident is part of the agency's Access service, which provides service to disabled passengers and is contracted out to the firm of Transportation Concepts Inc. of Irvine. Rall declined to identify the driver, who was airlifted to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.

Restaurant manager fatally shot in robbery

Chicago, IL-After working eight years off and on at several Leona's restaurants across Chicago, Corey Ebenezer was excited about his latest stint with the company. Raising four daughters, the newest addition being 5 days old, Ebenezer, 26, saw the job as a steppingstone to greater things, like the real estate business he envisioned. Three robbers ended all that early Thursday. As Ebenezer closed the restaurant shortly after midnight, the robbers burst through an unlocked back door and demanded money, police said. At least one of the men opened fire before the three fled out the back with an unknown amount of cash. Hit at least one time in the torso, Ebenezer was declared dead shortly after 2 a.m. in Stroger Hospital, the Cook County medical examiner's office said. No arrests have been made.

Tree Service Worker Dies After Harness Hits Electric Wire

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- Late Wednesday, a worker was electrocuted doing routine tree maintenance outside a home near San Jose. It was something the 22-year-old did for a living, nothing unusual about this job. But when he got up in the trees, the crew was less than half-way through when his equipment hit the wire and he came falling back down. Aaron Capannelli didn't want to believe his eyes. "We were screaming at him like 'Travis, Travis,' you know, trying to get him to stay, trying to get him to hear us or something, you know, to come on back," said Capannelli, a tree service owner. Somehow his co-worker and friend, Carl Travis Jernigan's harness touched an electrical wire.


Rosedale, MS-Safety officials are attempting to determine what caused a fatal accident at a steel company that left one worker dead. Pat White, 58, of Cleveland was crushed about 7 a.m. Monday when a beam weighing several thousand pounds fell on him at Cives Steel, authorities said. Deputy Coroner John Paul Gates said White died because of crushing injuries from the beam. Gates said no other employees were injured.

Man killed while working on power lines

GALLIA, Ohio - A man apparently was electrocuted while working on a power line in southeastern Ohio, authorities said. Victor Morris, 25, of Langsville, was replacing power poles when he was struck Tuesday with about 7,200 kilowatts through his index finger and thumb, said James Bartels, chief of the Greenfield Township Volunteer Fire Department.

Pawn shop owner killed in Easley

EASLEY S.C. -- The owner of an Easley pawn shop (John Bruin) was killed Thursday afternoon in a robbery, police say. A man came into the Action Pawn shop around 1:40 p.m., shooting the owner, then firing two shots at his wife, who was not injured, Easley Police Maj. Tim Tollison said.


Brooklyn, NY - A armed man, naked from the waist down, flashed a woman on a Brooklyn street last night - then got into a high-speed chase with cops and slammed into a livery cab, killing the driver, police said.

George Boos, 58, of Long Island City, Queens, rammed the cab at the intersection of 48th Street and Ninth Avenue in Borough Park after blowing past a red light, law-enforcement sources said.
Police officers spotted Boos getting into a van. When officers approached, Boos sped off and smashed into the cab two blocks away at 48th Street. The cabdriver, 43, who was not immediately identified, died at Maimonides Hospital, police said.

More: Luis Jativa, 35, an Ecuadoran immigrant, took his livery cab to a mechanic Wednesday morning and decided to work that night because because he couldn't afford to take a day off. Jativa sent much of the money he earned back to Ecuador to support his wife and two sons, a 4-year-old and 8-month-old. He was driving east on 48th St. in Borough Park about 8:45 p.m. when a van driven by George Boos slammed into his car, police said.

Man charged with DUI in officer's death

Springfield, IL -- The motorist involved in a Friday evening accident that killed Calhoun County's chief deputy sheriff has been charged with driving drunk, Illinois State Police said Monday.

Timothy Roth, 29, of Michael was southbound on Illinois 100 in his 2004 Dodge Ram pickup at 5:55 p.m. Friday when he collided head-on with the northbound squad car driven by chief deputy Brian Gibbons. Gibbons, 33, of Hardin, died from his injuries Sunday morning at St. John's Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis.

Driver Dies in Collision of Tractor-Trailers

New Jersey -- Two tractor-trailers collided between Exit 8A and Exit 12 on the New Jersey Turnpike yesterday, killing one of the drivers and setting a large brush fire, the police said. The collision happened after 9 p.m. and shut down part of the New Jersey Turnpike for several hours.

Tattoo shop owner found dead

MALAGA, NJ -- The owner of a popular tattoo business was found dead Saturday. Robert Montagna apparently committed suicide, according to police reports.

Montagna, 46, owned Fusion of Styles Tattooing at Route 40 and Route 47. His body was found in a building behind the tattoo shop by an employee, according to Franklin Township Police Chief Michael DiGiorgio. "It appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound," DiGiorgio said. "There was no immediate evidence of foul play."

Providence firefighters struggle with death of assistant deputy chief

PROVIDENCE, RI -- Deputy Assistant Fire Chief Michael J. Day died last night while on the job in the downtown fire station, after having returned from a fire earlier in the evening. Firefighters were reeling from the first line-of-duty death for the department in 29 years, Assistant Chief of Administration Mark S. Pare said this morning.
Day, 49, was found in his office, collapsed and unconscious and with no heartbeat by his coworkers at the Washington Street fire house last night, according to Paul A. Doughty, firefighter union president.

Construction Worker Killed

Bentonville, AR -- A construction worker was killed when a pickup ran off the road in Bentonville and struck him early Tuesday, police said.

Erik Culhane, 26, of Lowell was kneeling near Arkansas 12 when an eastbound Ford F250 pickup drove off the road into a culvert, then struck Culhane, police said.

Truck driver killed in crash

GLENBURN, ME -- A Milo man was killed Wednesday morning when his concrete-cargo truck drifted off Route 15, hit a power pole and rolled over. Kenneth Scanlon, 48, died at the scene, Maine State Police said.

Scanlon's truck, owned by American Concrete Industries of Veazie and headed south toward Bangor, left the road at about 11 a.m., struck a utility pole, flipped and landed in the southbound breakdown lane, according to police. The impact crushed the truck's cab.

Garbage worker killed in fall from truck

SYLVANIA, Ala. -- A town worker was killed Tuesday morning when he fell from a garbage truck, Sylvania officials said.

James T. Moore, 35, of Henagar, Ala., was riding on the back of the garbage truck during pickups along County Road 108 when he fell off and struck his head on the pavement, according to Sylvania Police Officer Jonathan Langley.

Construction worker dies from fall

Hueytown, AL -- A construction worker was killed Tuesday morning when he fell from a building under construction in Hueytown. Police identified him as Billy Wayne Wesson, 45, of Hueytown. They said he fell between 20 and 30 feet from the roof to his death shortly before 9 a.m. The accident occurred just off Davey Allison Boulevard where Schulte Building Systems is constructing a large metal building.

Man dies after fall at landfill

ERIE TOWNSHIP, OH - A Port Clinton man who fell from a catwalk at about 10 a.m. Tuesday while working at the Allied Waste Management landfill died later that day in a Toledo hospital.

Mahlon Massie, 50, fell about 22 feet, said Tom Kellogg, assistant chief of the Erie Township Fire Department. Although firefighters thought he suffered serious injuries from the fall, Kellogg said Massie was responding to questions.

Construction worker killed in Fort Lauderdale accident identified

Fort Lauderdale, FL -- Fort Lauderdale police have identified the construction worker who was crushed to death by steel scaffolding Tuesday afternoon.

Ibernier Boitimer, 42, was buried under the scaffolding for more than an hour after the accident, police said.

Details of the accident weren't entirely clear, but shortly before 3 p.m., the heavy scaffolding hit Boitimer in the head and broke his neck, killing him, said Lois Bowman, a Fort Lauderdale fire-rescue division chief.

The victim was an employee of Tala Construction, a subcontractor of Stiles Construction Co., the company putting up the 24-story building with 298 condominium units, authorities said.

SUV strikes, kills parking attendant

Miami, FL --A downtown Miami parking attendant was killed early Sunday when a Lincoln Navigator going the wrong way plowed into him near a row of nightclubs, police said. The driver of the late-model Navigator sped off, leaving the victim dead on the roadway.

The 53-year-old victim, whose name has not been released, was hit as he stood on the street in the 300 block of Northeast 10th Street, directing traffic into a lot which serves nearby clubs, including Metropolis, Gold Rush and Space.

Steel plant worker is killed; A falling beam pins man in a pit at Olson & Co. in west-central Fresno.

Fresno, CA -- A man working in an underground pit at a west-central Fresno steel company was killed Friday when a beam fell on him, Fresno fire officials reported. The Fresno County Coroner's Office identified the victim as Jeffrey Salumbides, 36, of Fresno.

The accident was reported at 11:44 a.m. at the Olson & Co. Steel plant at 3488 W. Ashlan Ave. just east of Weber Avenue.

Fresno Fire Chief Randy Bruegman said Salumbides was inside a hole about 15 feet deep and 3 feet wide when a steel beam, about 8 inches thick and 10 to 15 feet long, fell into the pit.

Portable toilet truck driver killed in I-95 crash with semi

PALM CITY, FL — A West Palm Beach man driving a portable toilet truck was killed Tuesday morning after he was hit from behind by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 95, the Florida Highway Patrol reported. Alcides M. Contino Leyva, 41, died in the 7:52 a.m. incident at the Martin/St. Lucie County line, the FHP reported.

State investigates death of worker pinned by truck

SEVIERVILLE Tenn. -- State investigators were looking into the death of a construction worker who was hit by a water truck and pinned against a retaining wall. Tony Lethco, 31, of Kodak, was injured June 7 and was at University of Tennessee Medical Center two days before he died.

Lethco was washing a retaining wall when a water truck rolled back and pinned him, according to an initial report by the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Truck Driver Killed in Pittsfield Township Crash

A portion of Michigan Avenue in Pittsfield Township was closed after a fatal semi-truck accident, Monday. During Monday morning rush hour, a truck driver died when he lost control of his vehicle, flipped the truck into oncoming traffic and collided with a Cadillac.

OSHA investigates worker's death; Feed plant has had 12 citations since 2000

St. Paul, MN -- The state on Monday began investigating a Sunday accident that killed a worker at a Rosemount processing plant, which has received 12 safety violations since 2000. Authorities said Juan Gregorio Perez Carrasco, 37, of St. Paul died after he fell into a pile of livestock feed at Endres Processing.

The accident happened about 9:30 a.m. Sunday at the plant when Carrasco, who was a general laborer, fell into a 30-foot-tall pile of animal feed in a 100-foot-by-100-foot room, said Rosemount police and fire officials. Carrasco was helping load the grain-like feed into trucks with a machine when the device got clogged, said Police Chief Gary Kalstabakken. Authorities believe Carrasco tried to unclog it but fell. Carrasco was alone in the room, but at least four other workers were nearby, Kalstabakken said.

Army investigates ammo plant blast; two workers still missing

MIDDLETOWN Iowa -- Army investigators began sifting through the rubble Tuesday to determine the cause of a blast in a plastic explosive section of a weapons factory believed to have killed two workers.

The blast was reported at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant about 10:10 a.m. Monday, destroying a building affiliated with one of the plant's five production lines, Army officials said.

More than 24 hours after the blast, investigators had yet to find the only two employees (Steven Upton and Justin Friedrichsen) inside the building at the time of the explosion. Both are presumed dead, Lt. Col. Jack T. Judy told reporters Tuesday. The names of the workers, employed by American Ordnance, were not released.

Liquor store clerk shot dead

PALM BAY, FL -- Three armed and dangerous masked men remain on the loose after killing a beverage store clerk Sunday afternoon, just hours after a similar robbery attempt took place at another discount shop six miles away. At least two of the three gunmen burst into the store and shot the clerk, police said.

The clerk, Kiran "Ken" Patel, 49, of Palm Bay died at A&B Beverage Store in the Port Malabar Shopping Center, in the 2200 block of Port Malabar Blvd., police said.

Bonnaroo worker dies in fall from truck

MANCHESTER. TN — For the third year in a row, someone has died in connection with Bonnaroo — and the musical festival in Manchester hasn’t even started yet.

“This was a contractor, a worker hired to help set up at Bonnaroo,” said Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves. “It’s my understanding the young man was in the back of a truck and fell out of the truck. It is listed as an automobile accident.”

The victim was Hillario Suarez, 25, of Roswell, Ga., and the accident occurred on Bushy Branch Road near Manchester about 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Trooper Charlie Harris said.

Taxi Driver Found Dead Next To Cab

ANNANDALE, Va. -- Fairfax County police are investigating the shooting death of a cab driver on Sunday night. Officers, answering a call about the sound of gunshots, went to the 3300 block of Arnold Lane at about 9:50 p.m. Sunday and found a 46-year-old man lying next to a taxicab.

The victim, identified as Parvez Ahmed, a driver for Alexandria Yellow Cab, was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police said he had been shot in the upper body.

S. Texas worker is killed on gas rig

Zapata, Texas -- As Zapata County leads the state in natural gas production, the boom in business hasn't come without human tragedy. Federal safety officials are investigating the second death in a year caused by sudden bursts of gas pressure to workers in the rural county, where tall drilling rigs seem visible in every direction.

Kevin D. Ordiway Jr., 22, of La Grange, a floor hand at a remote natural gas rig 15 miles north of Zapata, died Thursday when he loosened a bolt that was believed to be relieved of pressure and wasn't.

It was Ordiway's eighth day on the job with Snyder-based Patterson-UTI Drilling Co. LP LLLP, which has a notorious history with OSHA, including at least 12 deaths and fines of $725,900 in the past four years.

Worker dies two weeks after High Point factory blast

Hight Point, NC -- A maintenance worker who was badly burned in an explosion at a High Point factory has died of his injuries, two weeks after the blast.

Ricky Dale Hardin had been unconscious and in critical condition since shortly after he was injured May 23. He died Wednesday at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, his family said.

Hardin and two other men were hurt by the explosion and fire that authorities said was ignited by a welding torch at the Future Foam Inc. factory near downtown High Point.

Hardin was conscious immediately after the accident, his wife, Nancy, said.

Hardin, 49, had spent seven years working in maintenance for Future Foam, which manufactures bulk foam for use in carpet cushion, furniture, bedding and other uses.

Semi truck crashes, killing driver

PHOENIX, AZ -- A semi truck with a tank trailer went off Interstate Ten today, crashed through a right of way fence and struck a wall, killing the driver.


Phoenix, AZ -- Peoria police Friday identified the two people killed in a small-plane crash near Lake Pleasant on Thursday.

Instructor Ondrea Michelle Benner, 34, of Scottsdale, and student Clint A. Bergum, 21, a Phoenix resident whose family is from Ypsilanti, Mich., were killed when the Cessna 152 carrying them crashed into a hillside.

Gunman kills owner of store: This is fourth time in seven weeksa clerk in Modesto has been shot

Modesto, CA --A gunman walked into an east Modesto liquor store Wednesday night and fatally shot the store owner, then left without taking anything, police said.

The victim -- Balbir Boyal, 49, of Modesto -- was the fourth store clerk shot in Modesto in the past seven weeks. The others survived.

The man got into a confrontation with Boyal and shot him several times, with a handgun, Amarillas said. Police would not say whether the confrontation was verbal or physical, or where Boyal was shot.

Worker killed when dump truck backs over him

ST. GERMAIN Wis. -- A 48-year-old man died after a co-worker accidentally backed a dump truck over him, authorities said.

Ricky J. Check, of Wauzeka, died on Thursday in Vilas County at a resurfacing project site. A 57-year-old man from Rhinelander driving the truck was backing up to reposition the vehicle when the accident happened, authorities said.

The truck belongs to Pitlik & Wick of Eagle River.

Construction firm honors worker killed in accident

Watsonville, CA -- Day in and day out, Salvador Contreras teamed up with workers whose job is to spread hot asphalt on roadbeds, compacting, smoothing.

"It's physical, challenging work," said Tom Squeri, vice president of Graniterock, the 106-year-old construction company based in Watsonville where Contreras worked for 10 years.

Workers and managers said the 38-year-old father from San Jose, who was killed late Thursday when he was pinned between heavy equipment at a road construction site, was a dedicated worker.

Contreras was pinned between a pavement roller he had been driving and a gravel truck that backed into him, on a construction site on northbound Highway 101, north of Highway 87 in San Jose, the California Highway Patrol said.

Driver Killed on 490

Rochester, N.Y. -- A truck driver is dead after his rig used for picking up dumpsters hit the overpass of Route 490 at Mt. Read Boulevard.

Rochester Police responded to the accident around 6:45 a.m. The truck’s crane apparently was up when the truck smashed into the overpass. The force of the crash sent the front of the truck up into the underside of the bridge before the truck crashed back down on the ground.

Ronald Rothstein, 59, was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital, where he eventually died from his injuries.

Worker dies at Geneva plant

Geneva, IL -- A worker at a Geneva industrial plant was killed instantly Wednesday when he was struck by a heavy-duty crane. Authorities did not release the man's name pending notification of immediate family in Mexico. The man was 41 years old and lived in Aurora.

He suffered the fatal blow at roughly 6 a.m. while working at Industrial Hard Chrome, a chrome-plating company on Fluid Power Drive near Kirk Road. The victim might have stepped in front of a computer-operated crane that was moving equipment, officials said.

Power plant owner electrocuted

ALTA Utah -- The owner of a small power plant in Little Cottonwood Canyon plant died as the result of an electrocution, but authorities were still trying to determine how it happened.

"At the scene, we couldn't find anything obvious," Salt Lake County sheriff's Sgt. Paul Jaroscak said Thursday. "We're going to work on that now."

William Lennon, 48, of Alta, was found dead at the plant about 5 a.m. Thursday by his wife, Jaroscak said. An autopsy found he was electrocuted.

Officer, Suspect Killed in Texas Standoff

TYLER Texas -- A man shot and killed a constable and injured a deputy responding to a domestic disturbance call Wednesday before officers killed him, authorities said.

Constable Dale Geddie, 45, was killed, and Smith County sheriff's deputy Daniel Leon, 34, was expected to recover after undergoing surgery, said Tyler police spokesman Don Martin.

Cordele store manager fatally stabbed

Cordele, GA -- The longtime manager of a downtown Cordele hardware store was stabbed to death Tuesday evening, police said.

L. Michael Morgan, believed to be in his early 50s, was killed about 5 p.m. by an unknown assailant who ran from the Cordele Sash and Lumber Store on the Sixth and Eighth Street Connector behind the police department, Chief Dwayne Orrick relayed to The Telegraph through a police dispatcher Tuesday night. A family friend, Marsha Cauley, said the attacker cut one of Morgan's main arteries and he died quickly.

Security guard shot, killed near Victorville nightclub

VICTORVILLE, CA -- A 40-yearold security guard was shot during a pre-dawn altercation and later died, officials said Monday.

Maurice Montez McCullough, 30, of Los Angeles had responded to an incident around 3:15 a.m. Sunday in the area of a nightclub and a used car lot in the 15300 block of Ramona Avenue when he was shot, the coroner said.

While details on the incident were scarce, at least three employees at local businesses neighboring the nightclub said McCullough had been a bouncer at the club.

Worker electrocuted, another injured

Marietta, GA -- One construction worker was electrocuted and a second injured Thursday when the boom of a concrete truck they were working near struck and severed an overhead power line, according to federal and city officials.

The men, employees of Lewallen Construction Co. of Marietta, were helping build a concrete retention pond near Bellsmith Drive and Upper Hembree Road, according to Patricia Morris, deputy area director of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The power line may have fallen into and electrified the wet concrete, according to Alpharetta authorities.

Co-worker charged in fatal shooting

Louisville, KY -- A 23-year-old Louisville man was fatally shot outside a fast-food restaurant in the 12000 block of La Grange Road Saturday night, and a co-worker has been charged with his death.

Larry Johnson, 23, of 3108 Church Way, near Hikes Point, died at University Hospital at 11:29 p.m. Saturday, said R.D. Jones, a Jefferson County deputy coroner. He had been shot once.

The shooting occurred about 10:30 p.m. after Johnson got into a fight with Raymal L. Rivers, 26, of Louisville in the parking lot of a McDonald's, said Alicia Smiley, a spokeswoman for Louisville Metro Police.

Pizza deliveryman, robbed and shot, dies of injuries

A pizza deliveryman ambushed during a robbery Wednesday night was removed from life support and died yesterday afternoon at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, authorities said.

Jermaine Frazier, 29, of the 100 block of East Fairston Drive was shot in the head at 9:43 p.m. Wednesday while making a delivery for Lucky Pizza in the 500 block of North Wanamaker Street, near Girard Avenue, in West Philadelphia, said Officer Yolanda Dawkins, police spokeswoman.

Authorities believe the pizza order may have been called in to set up the robbery. When Frazier got to Wanamaker Street, he was confronted at gunpoint.

Construction worker killed on job site

Fort Meyers, FL -- A Fort Lauderdale man died late Tuesday morning after he was run over by a forklift on a construction site.

Andres Vasquez, 26, was working on a building near HealthPark Medical Center in south Fort Myers around 11 a.m. when he was hit by a passing forklift and killed, said Lee County Sheriff's Sgt. Larry King.

King said Vasquez was on a scaffold about a foot and a half above the ground at the site, at Via Solera Circle at Baraso Way. He jumped off the platform into the path of a forklift that was driving by, King said. His leg was caught under the wheel of the forklift and he was dragged under and killed immediately, King said.

Vasquez is among several others who have died in the last few years working in Southwest Florida's busy construction industry. In January, Daniel Burton of Fort Myers died in Cape Coral when part of a cement truck touched a power pole and sparked a fire, killing him. Felton Kinchen, 62, died in August after concrete rubble fell on him from the floor above at 1113 Van Loon Commons Circle. And in April 2005, Kent A. Crappell, 54, of Morgan City, La., died and another man was injured when a large crane setting up a 165-foot concrete piling came crashing down near the Sanibel Causeway.

Man dies after slicing artery

Charleston, SC -- A carpenter died on upper Dorchester Road while trying to drive himself to the hospital following a workplace accident Monday, authorities said.

Octavio Godinez, 27, had been working as a trim carpenter at a home in Coosaw Creek with his father-in-law, Dorchester County Coroner Chris Nisbet said. The father-in-law had left the home to get more supplies. While working alone, Godinez cut an artery in his left wrist and began to bleed heavily.

"Under panic, he thought it would be a good idea to get in his vehicle and drive to the hospital because he knew it was close," Nisbet said.

A Covina man was killed in a construction accident Tuesday.

Chino, CA -- Thomas Lee Kaup, 45, was at a road construction site at Bickmore and Fern avenues about noon when he was struck by heavy equipment, San Bernardino County coroner's officials said.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. Chino police and Cal-OSHA are investigating the accident.

Truck driver killed in U.S. 23 rollover

TYRONE TWP, MI - A Birch Run man was killed and a Swartz Creek man injured on northbound U.S. 23 Tuesday morning when a truck hauling construction equipment overturned on the right side of the road, state police said.

The truck, which was hauling a "skylift" or crane, wheelbarrows and other construction equipment, was in the right lane south of White Lake Road at 11 a.m. when it swerved to avoid an abandoned pickup truck on the shoulder, said Trooper Jeff Frasier of the state police Brighton post.

Granville County Firefighter Dies In Line Of Duty

OXFORD, N.C. -- Joseph Bilka worked at the Antioch Fishing Creek Volunteer Fire Department. He dedicated his life to public safety. He lost his life responding to a call.
"When he came around the corner, a tractor-trailer was in the middle of the road and I don't think he ever saw it," said assistant fire chief Benbury Ellington.

For a month, Bilka fought facial, lower body and internal injuries, but he later died. In the more than 30 years since Antioch-Fishing Creek originated, it was the first-ever loss in the line of duty.

Worker killed at Conco in Louisville

Louisville, KY -- A worker was apparently killed early Thursday morning at a company called Conco in Louisville.

Information is somewhat sketchy at this time. Around 6 a.m. Thursday, paramedics responded to a call that a man had been injured at the company. When they arrived, they attempted treatment, but he was later pronounced dead at Audubon Hospital.

Farm worker killed in accident

HARGILL, Tx - An illegal immigrant working in a Valley watermelon patch is killed when the truck he was riding in runs him over.

Eladio Tualentino, a veteran of working in the melon fields, was killed when he decided to jump off the truck he was riding on. He stumbled when he landed, and fell underneath the right side of the truck, where the wheels ran over Tualentino, killing him instantly.

9-year-old dies after farm accident

PAYETTE, CO. -- A 9-year-old boy is dead, after he was pinned under a piece of farm equipment.

Police say they arrived on scene -- and found that the child died of massive trauma. They say a hay stack wagon ran the child over. It is unknown what led to the accident -- an investigation is under way.

Video poker worker murdered

Wilmington, NC -- Wilmington police are still trying to put together missing pieces in the Monday night shooting that killed a video poker establishment employee at 1614 Market St.

"It looks like a robbery gone bad," Detective R.L. Odham said.

About 9 p.m., the suspect walked into the establishment where Reginald Dent, 36, of 615 S. 11th St. worked, Odham said. A short time later, Dent was found shot outside the video poker establishment, which is also called Jerry's Furniture Refinishing, detectives said.

Dent's death is the second in a year at or outside one of three Jerry's Furniture Refinishing stores, which operate as video poker establishments, in Wilmington. In June 2005, at a store on Cinema Drive, a robbery suspect was killed by a clerk. The clerk, Joseph Daggs III, was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, not murder.

2 pilots killed, 3 passengers rescued in crash of small jet

GROTON, Conn. -- A private jet registered to religious broadcaster Pat Robertson crashed in Long Island Sound while flying in heavy fog Friday, killing both pilots, authorities said. All three passengers escaped without serious injury. Robertson was not aboard. The twin-engine plane went down a half-mile short of the runway at Groton-New London Airport. Authorities said the passengers were able to get out on their own and were pulled from the water and taken to the hospital with injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening.

2 charged in slaying of parking attendant

Philadelphia, PA -- Police have charged two men in the slaying of William Palmer, shot Tuesday night while working as a parking-lot attendant near Hahnemann University Hospital, authorities said last night.

Palmer, 18, of Andorra, the son of two Philadelphia police officers, had planned to start college in the fall and had dreamed of becoming a young millionaire. He was shot to death while working in the cashier's booth of the hospital's parking lot in the 1400 block of Race Street.

Police said that they believe the gunman approached Palmer while the accomplice remained nearby. When Palmer did not comply with the gunman's demands, the assailant fired a shot through protective glass and hit Palmer in the chest.

CCWD worker killed in rollover identified

CA Authorities identified a Contra Costa Water District contract worker as the driver who was killed Wednesday afternoon in a rollover crash on a dirt access road to Los Vaqueros Reservoir.

Robert Rountree, 43, of Brentwood, died Wednesday after his truck flipped over on a hair-pin curve near Walnut Boulevard and Camino Diablo, California Highway Patrol spokesman Mike Wright said.

Arrest made in death of liquor store owner

SHIELDSVILLE Minn. -- Rice County authorities said a man was arrested on Friday in the death of a woman who was struck by a vehicle while sitting outside the liquor store she owned in small-town Shieldsville.

Rice County Sheriff Richard Cook said he expects the 69-year-old suspect from Shieldsville to be charged on Monday. A woman who was riding with him has not been arrested, Cook said.

Lisa Chappuis, 35, suffered a severe head injury and was dead at the scene outside her liquor store shortly before nightfall Thursday.

Truck driver dies in collision Train crossing near U.S. 31 unmarked

Louisville, KY -- A truck driver from Harrison County was killed yesterday when his rig was hit by a freight train just off U.S. 31 outside Sellersburg. The northbound train crushed the cab, dragging it for several hundred feet and eventually pinning it beneath a second, stationary train outside the Essroc cement plant.

The driver was identified as Sherman S. Simmons, 54, of Corydon, said Chuck Whittaker, a Clark County deputy coroner. The railroad crossing off U.S. 31 at the cement plant is not marked with a flashing signal or a traffic arm.

Smithfield truck driver dies in Henrico collision

Richmond, VA -- A Smithfield truck driver was killed yesterday when his vehicle slammed into the rear of another tractor-trailer on Interstate 295 in eastern Henrico County and burst into flames. Northbound I-295 was closed for several hours.

The trucker, Taswell D. Pierce, 60, was a driver for Burgess Truck Co. in Sedley, near Smithfield, state police spokesman Sgt. Kevin A. Barrick said last night.

Pierce was hauling a load of 2-by-4 lumber on a flatbed trailer when he ran into the rear of the other tractor-trailer as it pulled onto the highway about 4:15 a.m. just north of the state Route 5 interchange, Barrick said