Weekly Toll: Last Workers to Die in 2017. Let’s hope 2018 is better

JournalBad couple of weeks for workers in Kansas and firefighters across the country. Also two trench deaths and a food processing worker whose leg was ripped off. Last list of workers killed during 2017. Good Riddance. Let’s hope for a better 2018.

Man Killed Loading Road Salt at Kentucky Facility Identified

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A coroner’s office has identified a Kentucky worker who was killed while loading road salt into a maintenance facility. The Jefferson County coroner’s office tells media outlets that 52-year-old Trent Haines of Louisville died from blunt force injuries last Wednesday. The death has been ruled an accident. Louisville Public Works spokesman Harold Adams said Haines and another worker were loading salt on a dome conveyor at a road maintenance facility when they got caught up in a machine.

Worker Killed in Fall

Seattle, WA — Raymond Estores, working for Harris Rebar Services,  fell between 80-90 feet from the top floor of a construction project in downtown Seattle and died. Source: Washington Department of Labor and Industries.

Denver, CO: 1 officer killed as 4 deputies and 2 other people are shot during response to a disturbance call

DENVER, CO — One sheriff’s deputy (Deputy Zackari Parrish) was killed and four others shot after police responded to a call about a disturbance at an apartment complex in an affluent suburban county outside of Denver, authorities said. The shootings occurred after deputies responded to a call at about 5:15 a.m. local time to what they thought was a domestic problem at an apartment complex but which turned out to be a disturbance unrelated to any domestic dispute.

Pinellas Park Police identify worker in job-related death

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — The Pinellas Park Police responded to the death of a worker Thursday morning. According to police, an electrician apprentice was pinned between a piece of motorized equipment and a door frame around 10 a.m. The worker has been identified as 27-year-old Richard Louis Collett of Dunedin. Collett was moving a fourteen-foot scissor lift out of the exit of a building when his head was trapped between the lift rail and the door frame, reportedly causing trauma to his head. Collett was discovered unresponsive by a coworker and he was pronounced dead at the scene at the arrival of paramedics. He was helping to provide renovations to an abandoned building. Collett worked for Sunrise Electric of Pinellas and was doing sub-contractor work for Down Under Construction Services at the time of the incident.

Maintenance employee dies in accident while working at Loveland Ski Area

LOVELAND SKI AREA, Colo. — A maintenance employee died while working at Loveland Ski Area on Thursday morning. Officials said the employee, identified by family members as 40-year-old Adam Lee, was involved in an accident about 11 a.m. It did not say where the accident took place. The Clear Creek County Coroner’s Office said an autopsy was scheduled for Saturday.

Worker killed in car fire at Cupertino cement plant

Cupertino, CA — A worker at a cement plant in Cupertino died when he was trapped in a burning car after a collision at the facility Saturday morning, officials said. Reports of a vehicle collision and subsequent fire at the Lehigh Hanson Cement Plant on Stevens Creek Boulevard prompted Santa Clara County sheriff’s officials and county firefighters to respond to the scene shortly after 9:30 a.m., Sgt. Rich Glennon, a sheriff’s office spokesman, said in an email.

Officials: Worker dies after pipe slipped, struck him

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) — Officials say a worker (Charles Eric Gohagan, 44, of Atmore, Alabama) has died after a trackhoe moving a piece of pipe slipped on frozen ground and struck him in West Virginia. Ohio County Emergency Management Agency director Lou Vargo tells the Charleston Gazette-Mail the man died Thursday. He worked for a contractor for MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. A trackhoe is a tracked vehicle with an excavating arm. Vargo says the victim and another worker were holding ropes attached to the suspended pipe to control its direction. He says the victim was downhill from the trackhoe when it slipped on the ice.

Two Las Vegas casino security officers shot, killed during room check

Las Vegas, NV — Two security guards (LaTosha White and 28-year-old Phillip Archuleta) responding to a routine disturbance call on the fourth floor of Arizona Charlie’s Decatur were shot and killed this morning, according to Metro Police. The guards, a man and a woman in their 40s and in uniform, were dispatched to the room regarding a disturbance call, McGrath said. A woman contacted security saying that she had been in a dispute with two men who kicked her out of the room, police said tonight. The security officers responded and were shot while inside the room. The room was registered to the woman. The female guard was armed, but did not draw her gun, police said. Other security and medics provided first aid, but the victims died at the scene.

Police: Man kills 2, then himself at Houston auto shop

HOUSTON, TX – A man walked into a Houston auto shop where he used to work Friday and fatally shot two employees before going outside and killing himself, police said. The man, whose name wasn’t immediately released, entered Bemer Plus about 4 p.m. and officers received a call minutes later about “a shooting in progress,” Executive Assistant Police Chief Troy Finner said in a news conference.

Man dies in Fayette mine dozer accident

Fayette County, WV — The Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training confirmed Friday a death at the Revelation Energy LLC, Revelation S7 mine in Fayette County. Officials said Thurman A. Watts, 34, of Harts, died at approximately 12:57 a.m. Friday when the dozer he was operating traveled over the high wall. Watts was a dozer operator at the mine.

Warren County man, 25, killed in trench collapse

Federal investigators are talking with representatives from JK Excavating, the employer of 25-year-old Zachary Hess, who died Thursday after a trench collapse in Warren County.  The employer, JK Excavating of Mason, did not immediately return calls requesting comment. He died Thursday after being buried in a trench at a work site at 5506 Anna Marie Dr. in Salem Twp., Warren County. Doyle Burke, chief investigator for the coroner’s office, estimated 150 people from rescue squads from around the area were at the scene, attempting to rescue Hess.  Clearcreek Fire Chief Steve Agenbroad said crews of five to 10 firefighters took turns hand-digging in hopes of getting to Hess, buried 20 feet to 30 feet down, while he was alive. Initially dispatched at 11:50 a.m. Thursday, the scene was cleared about 12:30 a.m. Friday, after they got to his body.

19-year-old employee killed, second man wounded in shooting at suburban gas station

DOLTON, Ill. — One person was fatally shot, another wounded during an attempted armed robbery in the southwest suburbs. 19-year-old Arshad Vahora was shot and killed and a 55-year-old man who was critically injured.  Both were working at Vahora’s  father’s business, the Clark gas station at the corner of 142nd and Langley in Dolton. Police say a 911 call came in at 11 a.m. from one of the victims who was just breathing and could not talk. Someone walked in and opened fire hitting the two victims. A vendor who was also inside the gas station at the time took cover and was not hurt.

Wichita company mourns loss of employee killed in Greenwood County semi crash

Wichita, KS — A Wichita company released a statement Thursday afternoon, mourning the loss of one of its employees, identified as one of two men killed in the early-morning crash involving two semis in Greenwood County. LDF Sales and Distributing says 35-year-old Darin Surridge shuttled cargo loads from the company’s main warehouse in Wichita to a satellite warehouse in Parsons. The crash happened around 1:45 a.m. three miles east of Beaumont and 12 miles west of Severy. The Kansas Highway Patrol says a 2016 CMV Freightliner driven by Marcos Rodriguez-Reyes, of Wichita, was westbound on U400 when it went left of the center line and struck an eastbound 2017 CMV Kenworth driven by Darin Kyle Surridge, of Parsons, head-on.  Both Rodriguez-Reyes and Surridge died in the crash.

Worker killed during construction project in Florida

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (AP) — A man has died while operating heavy equipment at a construction site in Florida. Pinellas Park police officials said in a news release that the man became trapped between the equipment and a door frame as he worked on a building near St. Petersburg on Thursday morning. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officials identify worker who died in Mishicot fall

MANITOWOC COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) – Officials have released the name of a man who died after a fall from a steel tower in Mishicot. The Sheriff’s Office identified the victim as Richard Andrews, 31. At 9:22 a.m., emergency crews were called to Church Street for a report of a man who fell from a tower that is used for television antennas. A preliminary investigation found Andrews was installing equipment when he fell 35 feet to the ground. There were no further details about what precipitated the fall.

Detroit police say marijuana dispensary where worker was killed operated illegally

DETROIT, MI (WXYZ) – Detroit Police are trying to find out who shot and killed 28-year-old Brandon Beavers inside a marijuana dispensary on West Chicago at Appoline Street on the city’s west side Wednesday.  Beavers worked at the dispensary that police say was operating illegally and raided just last month on November 15. Beavers, a father to three young children, was found on the floor behind the counter. He had been shot to death and his body found at 5:40 pm.

OKC firefighter dies on duty

Oklahoma City, OK — The Oklahoma City Fire Department is mourning the loss of one of its own. Lt. Jeffrey White died after experiencing what the department called a medical “episode”.

CORONER FINDS PORT OF WILMA MILL WORKER DIED OF HEAD, NECK INJURIES

PORT OF WILMA, WA – The 55-year-old Peck man who died in an industrial accident at Guy Bennett Lumber at the Port of Wilma suffered massive head and neck injuries, according to the Whitman County coroner. Jeffrey Midstokke “fell approximately 16 feet from the area of debarker to a chain conveyor system, striking his head, transporting the decedent along the conveyor system until turned off by a metal detector,” according to the unofficial death record provided by coroner Peter J. Martin. Martin determined the manner of death was accidental. The incident occurred Dec. 20. Midstokke was pronounced dead at the scene when emergency crews arrived.

Naked postal worker accused of killing bosses faces federal murder charges

Detroit, MI — A federal murder complaint filed today accused 24-year-old Deshaune Stewart of killing two U.S. government employees for performing their official duties. Stewart, an apparently disgruntled postal worker, is accused of fatally shooting his supervisor Dec. 23 at the Dublin post office, and then slaying the Dublin postmaster at a Columbus apartment complex, our media partner WBNS-TV in Columbus reported. Authorities said Stewart was naked during both attacks. Stewart allegedly killed Lance Dempsey, 52, at the post office, and then three hours later Postmaster Ginger Ballard, 53, was found dead between two vehicles with blunt-force trauma to her head, WBNS reported.

Superintendent killed in tree trimming accident at golf course

THREE RIVERS, MI — Mendon Community Schools Superintendent Roger Rathburn fell from a ladder and died while trying to trim trees Tuesday at a nearby golf course, police say. Rathburn, 55, was on a ladder on Dec. 26, at the Sauganash Golf Course at 61270 Lutz Road, about two miles south of Three Rivers, when the incident occurred, they say. “Based on the investigation there, he was trimming trees along the golf course,” said Trooper John Hoffmeister. “He was on a ladder approximately 20 feet in the air cutting a larger tree limb down.” The trooper said Rathburn was on a metal, extendable ladder, using a chain saw. He was above the large tree limb that he was cutting. “At some point in the process, the limb that he was cutting struck the ladder,” Hoffmeister said. “As it was making its fall, it struck the ladder causing Mr. Rathburn to fall, with him striking the (golf) cart path.”

Officer killed as patrol car hit by drunken driver

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A California Highway Patrol officer died after a drunken driver returning from a party slammed into the back of his parked patrol car on a San Francisco Bay Area highway on Christmas Eve, the CHP said Monday. CHP Officer Andrew Camilleri, a 33-year-old married father of three children, was in the passenger seat of the CHP SUV on the shoulder of Interstate 880 in Hayward when the vehicle was struck, said Assistant Chief Ernest Sanchez. The back end of the patrol car was mangled. “It’s definitely not the way we wanted the community to think of the 2017 Christmas Day holiday,” Sanchez said.

DPS identifies man killed in fiery crash on I-20 in Sweetwater

SWEETWATER, Texas – The Department of Public Safety has identified the driver killed in a fiery crash on I-20 in Sweetwater. Hector M. Pedroza Guillen, 58, of El Paso was pronounced dead at the scene. DPS said Guillen drifted to the inside lane and overcorrected. His 18-wheeler went through the ditch and rolled onto the service road where it hit a telephone pole and caught fire. The crash happened around 1:45 p.m. at mile marker 255. Guillen was hauling office supplies to Dallas. DPS did not know the name of the company or where the truck picked up the supplies.

Safety questions follow fatal trench collapse in Bel Aire

BEL AIRE, KS. Emergency crews and firefighters were out for hours last Wednesday (Dec. 20) trying to free the body of Jesse Foster from 16 to 20 tons of dirt in a hole approximately 10 feet deep. Police say Foster was working in the hole near 53rd North and Webb Road in Bel Aire when dirt somehow shifted and fell on top of him. Foster was doing subcontracting work for Wilks Underground Utilities, which was putting in lines.  Following up on what happened last Wednesday, Eyewitness News Tuesday spoke with one woman who says her husband also subcontracts for a gas-line company and has gone through a lot of training.

KCK firefighter dies while on duty

KANSAS CITY, KS. A Kansas City, Kansas, firefighter/paramedic died early Tuesday while on duty, the Fire Department announced. Fire officials said Jason Garrett, 46, was found unresponsive in his bed by coworkers at Station 19 near 80th Terrace and State Avenue. He was pronounced dead at the fire station. Garrett had been with the department for 5 1/2 years.Authorities are trying to determine the cause of death.

Tree trimmer’s death in fall ruled accidental

Pittsburgh, PA — The death of a tree trimmer killed in a fall from a bucket truck in downtown Pittsburgh has been ruled accidental. Police say four Emery Tree Service workers were trimming trees at the time of the accident shortly after 1 p.m. Saturday. KDKA reports that one man was using a chain saw about 60 feet in the air when the arm of the truck malfunction and fell toward the ground, and the worker was thrown from the bucket by the force of the fall. The Allegheny County medical examiner’s office said Sunday that 34-year-old Michael Shiry of Avonmore died of blunt force injuries of the head, trunk and extremities and a sharp-force wound to the abdomen.

Arkansas City identifies man killed in Thursday accident

Arkansas City, KS — Arkansas City officials have identified the employee who died in a workplace accident Thursday afternoon. 53-year old Marc A. Tapia sustained critical injuries on Thursday afternoon at the Public Works central shop. He died later that evening at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. Tapia had been employed by the City as a public services maintenance worker for nearly 2 1/2 years. He was operating a a street sweeper vehicle when the accident occurred. Mayor Dan Jurkovich said on Friday afternoon that he was “saddened by the tragic loss” of Tapia and hopes that God will provide the comfort his family needs.

Highway worker struck, killed in Greenville

 — Law enforcement officials are yet again reminding drivers that extreme caution needs to be taken when driving through construction zones, especially at night, after a crash Thursday evening left one worker dead. According to NBC affiliate WITN, Trooper Noah Miles says a car was traveling east on U.S. Highway 13 near Frog Level Road in Greenville when it struck a highway construction worker who was trying to cross the street. Troopers say the worker died at the scene.

Cushing man killed in oil field fall in Okmulgee County

BEGGS, OK. – An oil field worker was killed in a fall Thursday morning. Investigators are working to figure out how it happened. Police got the call around 10:30 a.m. that an oil derrick fell. “We found an oil field pulling unit had been in the middle of pulling some sucker rods out of the ground at a well site,” said Lt. Duston Todd with the Okmulgee County Sheriff’s Office. Harnessed at the top of the tower was 35-year-old Robert Allen of Cushing. He died in the fall.  “They said they were in the middle of pulling the pipe out of the ground when the platform began to shake and tipped over,” Lt. Todd said.

South Effingham employee dies after school mishap

Guyton, GA — Bill Bishop, a popular nine-year school employee, sustained head trauma after falling approximately 12 feet while preparing the South Effingham gym for the Dec. 15 basketball contests against Effingham County. Bishop was rushed to Savannah’s Memorial University Medical Center. He died Sunday morning.

Amazon employee’s death at Sacramento fulfillment center under investigation by Cal/OSHA

Sacramento, CA — California’s Department of Occupational Safety and Health [Cal/OSHA] is investigating the death of an employee at Amazon’s Sacramento fulfillment center. A spokesperson for the agency said the Amazon employee went to the hospital on Friday, Dec. 14, 2017 after vomiting blood. The employee died the following day on Friday, Dec. 15. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the employee’s death.

40-year old firefighter dies in the line of duty

MAYER, MN. (KMSP) – A small-town Minnesota firefighter died Tuesday morning from an apparent heart attack, just hours after a training session.  It’s a tough pill for his fellow first responders to swallow, not least because he was a beloved firefighter–ultimately they were the ones who had to take the call. Captain Jeff Vollmer died just hours after the Mayer Fire Department practiced a similar scenario: putting people on stretchers and lifting them up and down stairs. He was only 40 years old. “Jeff seemed fine, we also had an officers meeting right after that,” added Maetzold. “Jeff was well fit from what we could tell … his heart just quit.”The last four firefighters in Minnesota to die in the line of duty have all died from heart attacks in their late 30’s and early 40’s.  Half of all firefighters in America die–not from falling off ladders, smoke inhalation or burns–but from sudden and massive heart attacks, sometimes just hours after their shift.

Firefighter dies in three-vehicle western Kansas crash

Trench Collapse Weekly Toll

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