Weekly Toll: Public employees, workplace violence and death in a tire-shredder

Weekly Toll: Death In the WorkplaceI’ve been away, so it’s a long, depressing list this week. Lowlights include 11 public employees in states that don’t have OSHA coverage – Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Florida, Colorado, Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma and Ohio: Highway workers, police, firefighters.

PennDOT worker killed in I-99 crash

LOGAN TOWNSHIP, PA — State police at Hollidaysburg are investigating a fatal crash involving a vehicle and pedestrian Saturday along Interstate 99 southbound, north of Kettle Road in Logan Township.  Officials say PennDOT employee Robert Gensimore, 45, of Spruce Creek, was setting up flares at 3:41 p.m., warning drivers of a crash scene on I-99. That’s when they say a State College driver, 29-year-old Guanglong Hu, lost control of his car and hit Gensimore. Gensimore was pronounced dead at the scene.

Truck driver killed after being pinned by semi at Menards loading dock

HOLLAND, Ohio (WTVG) – Holland police say one person was killed when a semi truck rolled back, pinning the driver between the trailer and the loading dock. Chief Robert Reed says the truck driver was making a delivery to Menards off of Airport Hwy. in Holland Wednesday. According to Reed, the driver exited the semi and was standing behind it. That’s when the semi rolled back and killed the victim.

1 dead after industrial accident in Maynardville

MAYNARDVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A person was killed in an industrial accident at a Clayton Homes facility in Maynardville. The victim, whose identity hasn’t been released, worked for Hoyle’s Tire & Axle out of Henderson, N.C., according to a Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce spokesman.  OSHA officials have started an investigation of the incident that will take between ten and 12 weeks to complete.

Vermont farm worker run over and killed by machine

BERKSHIRE, Vt. — Vermont police say a farm worker was run over and killed by a bucket loader machine while arriving to work. Berkshire police say 57-year-old James Davio, of Newport, had just arrived to work around 6 a.m. Thursday when he was run over by the farm machine. WCAX-TV reports authorities say the machine operator, 22-year-old Jaime St. Pierre, didn’t see Davio. First responders pronounced Davio dead at the scene. The large dairy farm is owned and operated by the St. Pierre family, who declined to comment.

US postal worker found fatally shot in mail truck in Dallas

DALLAS, TX— A U.S. Postal Service worker was found fatally shot inside a mail truck along a busy highway in Dallas on Monday, and investigators are treating the case as a homicide, according to police. Officers found the worker’s body inside the government vehicle around 2:30 a.m. after responding to a reported shooting along Interstate 30 just west of downtown, according to a statement released by Dallas police. Sr. Cpl. DeMarquis Black said no arrests have been made, and investigators are still trying to determine a possible motive behind the shooting. The victim’s name hasn’t been released. The U.S. Postal Service operates two large mail sorting and processing complexes nearby, according to Amanda McMurrey, an inspector with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service , the law enforcement and security arm of the USPS.

Construction worker killed in Columbus Junction

COLUMBUS JUNCTION, Iowa (KCRG-TV9)  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is now investigating the death of a construction worker in Columbus Junction. According to police, there was a cave-in at a construction site in downtown at 2:52 p.m. on Friday. Police said 52-year-old Anthony Hills had been working on sewer repairs at the time and was killed. He was the owner operator of Hills Construction.

Sheriff’s deputy killed in crash on I-95

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla.  – A Brevard County Sheriff’s Deputy was killed in a traffic crash on Interstate 95 early Saturday morning.  The crash happened just after 5 a.m. on I-95 near mile marker 217, just north of State Road 50. Field Training Officer Kevin Stanton died after his his marked cruiser was struck by a semi-truck.   Brevard County Sheriff’s Office says that FTO Stanton was hired as a deputy in October 2007 and has received numerous letters of commendation, commendable service awards and was nominated for a Life Saving Award during his 10 years of service. The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office will be addressing media once more information becomes available.

Middle TN firefighter dies, 4 injured in partial collapse after blaze

Lawrenceburg, TN — Officials have shared more information about Monday night’s deadly collapse at a  house fire that claimed the life of a Lawrenceburg firefighter. Firefighters responded to the fire around 4:30 p.m.at a home on Hood Lakes Road. Around 9 p.m., crews activated “mayday” protocol, and were still actively attempting to contain the fire inside and outside the structure. The two trapped firefighters and two others were taken to Southern Regional Medical Center. Another firefighter was released from the hospital Tuesday. The other is from the New Prospect Fire Department. A Lawrenceburg fire engineer, Jason Dickey, was killed in that fire.

Industrial Worker Fatally Injured in Workplace Accident

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — An official says a worker at a Kentucky industrial plant has been fatally injured. Carbide Industries LLC Human Resources Director Heather Y. Davis said in a statement to WDRB-TV that the workplace accident occurred Thursday morning at the company’s facility in Louisville. She did not identify the worker who died. The statement says the company, which manufactures calcium carbide, is cooperating with authorities to determine how the accident happened.

Mercer County village worker killed in industrial accident

Mendon, OH — A Village of Mendon employee was killed in an industrial accident Thursday at the village utility department, Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey said.  Brendan Poling, 49, had climbed inside the bed of a dump truck carrying salt and it appeared he slipped into a salt auger, where another village employee discovered him, the sheriff said in a prepared statement released tonight.  Deputies were dispatched to the utility department, 340 E. Market St., just after 11:30 a.m. for a male stuck in an auger.  Poling, who was a Mendon resident, died at the scene, the sheriff said.

Local log truck driver killed near Augusta

Augusta, GA — A 53-year-old Milledgeville man was killed Thursday night after he lost control of his loaded log truck near Augusta, authorities say. The victim was identified as Guy Boyd Hutchinson Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen confirmed Friday. Bowen said he pronounced Hutchinson dead at the scene at 8:05 p.m. The coroner said the single-vehicle crash happened about 6:50 p.m. on U.S. Highway 1, just north of the Richmond-Jefferson county line.  Bowen told the newspaper that Hutchinson had traveled into Richmond County from neighboring Jefferson County and near mile marker three, he apparently lost control of the loaded log truck.  “He overcorrected and it (truck) flipped over, partially ejecting him out of the cab of the truck,” Bowen said. “The truck was loaded with logs and logs went everywhere.”

ISP identifies truck driver killed in crash on I-94 in La Porte County

LA PORTE COUNTY, Ind. – Indiana State Police have identified the driver who died in a crash on Interstate 94 in La Porte County Friday morning. The driver was identified as David C. Sturgis, 53, of Camp Douglas, Wisconsin. He was a driver for Dalli Trucking Inc. out of Greendale, Wisconsin. The crash happened just before 3 A.M. near the exit to U.S. 20. Troopers say a semi pulling two trailers was headed westbound when one trailer became detached. They say a Volvo semi, driven by Sturgis,hit the detached trailer, causing the cab of the Volvo to be ripped off, killing Sturgis.

Sanitation truck driver killed in accident

Council Bluffs, IA — A Council Bluffs man was killed when his garbage truck overturned in Pottawattamie County early Thursday afternoon.The Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office says 38-year-old Jeremy Daniels was pronounced dead at a local hospital following the accident on Mynster Road, west of Old Lincoln Highway, shortly after 1 p.m. An investigation determined a sanitation vehicle driven by Daniels was westbound when it exited the road while negotiating a curve and overturned. Daniels was ejected from the vehicle. S&L Sanitation Enterprises, Incorporated owned the vehicle. The accident remains under investigation.

Employee identified in fatal workplace accident at Carbide Industries

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Officials at Carbide Industries reported an employee was fatally injured at the company’s Bells Lane facility on Thursday. The employee has been identified as Patrick Childers, 38. The coroner said a suspected electrocution happened around 4:30 a.m.  Two workers died in an explosion at the plant in 2011 that was blamed on a malfunctioning furnace. The 2011 explosion led to the creation of the Code Red alert system.

Garbage Worker Pinned Between Truck, Tree Killed Following Crash

Lincoln, NE — A garbage truck worker has died in an accident in a southwest Lincoln neighborhood. He has been identified as 47 year old James W. Baker of Lincoln. It was around 7 a.m. Thursday when the crash happened at Westland Circle and West Sumner Street, which is southeast of South Coddington Avenue and West “A” Street. Lincoln Police say Baker was working from the back of the truck when he became pinned between the truck and a tree. A Von Busch & Sons, Refuse manager confirmed that Baker was an employee.

Construction worker dies after getting trapped inside piping

Hillsborough County, FL — A Florida man died after he was trapped inside piping while working on a road construction project. First responders arrived on scene to a construction site in Hillsborough County Wednesday afternoon and found the man stuck in the piping while suffering from unknown injuries. Firefighters entered the pipe and discovered that the man had died before rescue crews arrived. The response then moved from a rescue to a recovery operation.

Veteran firefighter dies after collapsing at scene of Burrillville house fire

BURRILLVILLE, RI — A 72-year-old volunteer firefighter died Wednesday morning after he was stricken while firefighters battled a chimney fire at a log cabin home deep in the woods near the Massachusetts border. The cause of Pascoag fire Lt. Richard Jenks’ death was not known, but Jenks tripped and fell in the log cabin while fighting the fire and then collapsed while standing outside, said Deputy Fire Chief Keith Carter. Jenks is the first Pascoag firefighter to die in the line of duty in the Fire Department’s 114-year history, Carter said. He was a 33-year veteran of the department, a veteran of the Air Force and a retired employee of the Pascoag Utility District, Carter said.

Police officer killed in training crash

DETROIT, MI – A police officer was killed in a crash Tuesday while training. Darren Weathers, a 25-year-old father and military veteran, was known by the name “Lucky” to friends and coworkers. While conducting a surveillance exercise, another driver crashed into his vehicle, pushing him into a metal structure. Crews tried to save his life, but it was too late.

Killed in Vehicle Incident

Martinez, California — Two more workers were killed in recent days, both of them from encounters with vehicles. In Martinez, an employee of Nelson’s Towing Service was involved in a rollover vehicle incident in a private driveway. The other workplace fatality was in San Francisco, where a driver for Recology, a waste collection service, was pinned between a wall and his vehicle.

Jeremy Gordon, Recology Worker, Dies In Industrial Accident

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — A Recology worker died in an accident at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on Friday morning, according to police. The San Francisco medical examiner’s office has identified 42-year-old Jeremy Gordon as the worker who died in the accident reported at about 6 a.m. Friday near Potrero Avenue and 22nd Street. Recology spokesman Robert Reed said Gordon died while delivering a garbage compactor to the hospital. No other vehicles were involved in the accident.

Man dies in accident at hay company

Ellenburg, WA — An employee died in an accident Feb. 9 during the night shift at Calaway Trading Inc. in Ellensburg. Jose Contreras Mendez, 38, died in the accident, according to the Kittitas County Coroner’s Office. Calaway President Jeff Calaway said the incident occurred when Mendez entered the inflow stream of a hay press to prepare it for cleaning.  “The main cause of this accident was a failure to follow lock-out-tag-out procedure,” he said. An investigation is currently being conducted by the state Department of Labor and Industries.

High-ranking Chicago officer killed; 5th cop slain in U.S. since last week

Chicago, IL — A high-ranking Chicago police officer was shot and killed Tuesday after a downtown foot chase, the latest in a spate of law enforcement officers killed across the nation in unrelated shootings. Cmdr. Paul Bauer, a veteran of more than three decades in the Chicago force, was killed about 2:30 p.m. after confronting a man who had run from police officers, Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a news conference.  Bauer was immn plainclothes attire when he was shot. He had been listening to his police radio when he heard his fellow officers were chasing down a suspect. His death marks the fifth time an officer has been shot and killed across the nation in a little more than a week,  according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks such deaths.

Longtime CDOT employee dies after vehicle hits him while on the job

Pagosa Springs, CO — A 14-year Colorado Department of Transportation employee died Sunday, several days after he was hit by a passing vehicle while working on a southwest Colorado highway. Nolan Olson, an accomplished 64-year-old equipment operator, was filling potholes on U.S. 160 in Pagosa Springs on Feb. 2 when he was hit and severely injured. He was transported to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Lakewood and died nine days later. “Nolan faced every day with a great and positive attitude,” CDOT maintenance supervisor Billy McDermott said in a statement. “Every member of his patrol looked up to him. Nolan gave guidance for work tasks and was able to share the history of the patrol, CDOT and Pagosa area whenever asked.” He described Olson as diligent and a true role model. He was someone who always looked for a more efficient way of doing things.

Manitowoc crane accident: Third person dies

SHADY GROVE, PA – A third man has died of injuries he suffered on Feb. 2 in a crane accident at the Manitowoc Grove plant on Buchanan Trail East. Isaac Dean Notz, 38, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, was pronounced dead at 6:35 p.m. Saturday, according to Franklin County Coroner Jeff Conner. He died of blunt force trauma. Chris Robison, 49, Marion, and John Marcoux, 66, Chambersburg, also died of blunt force trauma in the industrial accident.  Authorities have not shared what is believed to have happened to cause the accident.  The accident happened on a windy day. Police had to wait for lighter winds before they could take aerial photographs of the scene. The deaths are the most recent at a manufacturing plant in Franklin County since August 2013 when a man died after being pinned between two cranes at Manitowoc. Manitowoc, with about 1,200 employees, is one of the largest manufacturers in Franklin County. The plant in Antrim Township makes Grove mobile cranes and recently added an assembly line for crawler cranes.

Mourners honor Richardson officer who ‘took the warrior’s path’

Richardson, TX — They came to honor a consummate public servant, a humble warrior who gave his life as he would have wanted — in service to others. Hundreds of mourners filled North Dallas’ Watermark Community Church to near capacity Tuesday in memory of  Richardson Officer David Sherrard, who was fatally shot Feb. 7 while responding to a disturbance at an apartment complex.”We’re here honoring a true hero,” Richardson Police Chief Jimmy Spivey said. “He made a true sacrifice, and he made that sacrifice coming to the aid of people he did not know.”

Sterling DCFS worker beaten in September dies in Chicago hospital

CHICAGO, IL – The Sterling DCFS worker severely beaten Sept. 29 while picking up a child in Milledgeville died this morning at a Chicago hospital, a local union official and friend of the family said. Pamela Sue Knight was 59. Knight, of Dixon, was being treated at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, but was transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital on Feb. 4 for emergency surgery, her family said in a post on CaringBridge.org. The reason for the surgery was not specified. Knight still was in intensive care at Northwestern at the time of her death, said Kathy Lane, president of AFSCME Local 448, who was notified of Knight’s death around 8:15 a.m. Before the surgery, Knight, who no longer could speak, was working with therapists to communicate using eye movements, and was able to answer questions that way. She also was undergoing physical therapy to help her regain movement in her arms and legs. Andrew Sucher, 25, of Rock Falls, was indicted Dec. 7 on charges of attempted first-degree murder, which carries at least 6 to 30 years in prison, aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, and aggravated battery of a state employee, each of which carries 2 to 5 years in prison. He’s accused of kicking Knight in the head so severely that he fractured her skull, causing permanent brain damage that also led to her extensive physical disabilities. Knight had arrived at Sucher’s parents’ home in Milledgeville to take a 2-year-old boy into protective custody when she was attacked.

Construction worker dies after being hit on I-85 NB at I-985

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A driver is likely to face charges after hitting and killing a construction worker early Friday morning.  The construction worker was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries. He passed away the following day. On Feb. 9, Peter Rozboril struck and killed 42-year-old Lamar Ragland around 5 a.m. on I-85 North near the I-985 North split. Ragland, a construction worker, was removing barrels from the end of the closure as it was about to reopen, Gwinnett County Police said. Rozboril entered the closed lane with “intent to exit on I-985N” and hit Ragland.

Trucker dies in crash that turns fiery early Sunday on I-65

Seymour, IN — A truck driver from Michigan died early Sunday morning from injuries he sustained in a fiery crash with another trucker near the 53-mile-marker on Interstate 65, police report. John A. Gaskin, 54, of Saulte Ste. Marie died as the result of a crash in which he drove into the back of second semitrailer that may not have had working taillights, according to Trooper Matt Holley’s report. Holley reported Gaskin was driving a 2015 Freightliner truck pulling a box trailer south on the interstate when he collided with the back of a box trailer being pulled by a 2007 Freightliner driven by Abdulahi A. Afrah, 33, of Louisville, Kentucky. As a result of the collision — reported at about 1:30 a.m., Gaskin’s truck caught fire and burned, according to a news release from Sgt. Stephen Wheeles.

Seven Officers Killed In the Line of Duty in Past Week

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The law enforcement profession experienced one of its deadliest periods in recent memory this past week as seven officers nationwide were killed in the line of duty. Six of these fallen heroes were shot to death, and one died in an auto crash. Already this year 14 law enforcement professionals have been killed in the line of duty. Eleven of them died as a result of gunfire, more than double the number at the same time last year (5). On February 5, El Paso County (CO) Deputy Sheriff Micah Flick was shot and killed while conducting a motor vehicle theft investigation. He and several officers struggled with a suspect who opened fire, mortally wounding Deputy Flick, who had spent 11 years with the department. He was the sixth officer to be shot and killed in 2018 and the third in Colorado since December 31. The following day, Los Angeles County (CA) Deputy Sheriff Steven Belanger succumbed to a gunshot wound to the head he sustained on December 1994 while conducting a traffic stop in Rowland Heights, California. Also on February 6, Asher (OK) Police Department Reserve Officer Jarate Dewayne Condit was killed in a vehicle crash. Officer Condit was just 23 years old and is the first officer fatality from Oklahoma in 2018. Richardson (TX) Police Officer David Sherrard became the first Texas officer killed in the line of duty in 2018. Officer Sherrard was shot and killed on February 7 while responding to a disturbance call at an apartment complex in the Dallas suburb. Upon arrival, officers discovered a man suffering from a gunshot wound outside and were able to locate the gunman inside the complex. As they entered the apartment, the suspect opened fire on the officers, striking Officer Sherrard in the neck.  The assailant then barricaded himself in the apartment for several hours before surrendering. Officer Sherrard died of his wounds in a nearby hospital. Two days later, on February 9, Locust Grove (GA) Police Officer Chase Maddox was shot and killed while helping two Henry County (GA) Sheriff’s deputies apprehend a suspect who had failed to show at his court hearing for a traffic violation. The suspect shot the three officers, killing Officer Maddox, before being shot and killed himself.Then on February 10, two Westerville (OH) Division of Police officers were shot and killed when responding to a 911 call hang-up. The suspect shot the Officer Eric Joering and Officer Anthony Morelli as they arrived at the scene to investigate. Officer Joering died at the scene and Officer Morelli died later at a hospital. Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer called it a “potential domestic situation.”

Worker Found Dead In Hay Press

Ellensburg, WA– Jose Contreres Mendez, an employee of Calaway Trading Inc, was found dead February 9 under a hay press after cleaning the machine. (Source: Washington Department of Labor and Industries)

Hawkins worker killed at MIS Inc. plant in Phipps Bend

SURGOINSVILLE, TN — An employee of the MIS Inc. plant in Hawkins County was killed Thursday night after getting stuck in a large piece of equipment while reportedly trying to dislodge a part that had gotten stuck. The victim was identified as Arthur James Hendrickson, 361 Carters Valley Loop Lot 4, Rogersville. Hendrickson would have celebrated his 35th birthday next Friday. Hawkins County EMA Director Gary Murrell, who responded to the factory at Phipps Bend with other volunteer fire and rescue personnel, said that as soon as the part was dislodged, the door closed on Hendrickson. Murrell said death would have been instantaneous. Shortly after 11:30 p.m., Hawkins County Central Dispatch received a report of an employee being trapped in a machine at the plant, located at 119 Industrial Drive.

Washington Truck Driver Killed In Rollover Crash Near Hermiston

HERMISTON, OR — A truck driver from Spokane, Washington, was killed early Friday when he rolled his commercial semi-truck over an interstate highway interchange southwest of Hermiston, according to Oregon State Police. Troopers from Hermiston and Pendleton were dispatched to the fatal crash at the Interstate-82/Interstate-84 interchange, near I-84 milepost 180, just after 12 a.m. Feb. 9. Ray Dean Harper, 52, was found ejected from his 2004 Freightliner, which was towing an unloaded flatbed trailer. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, police said. The investigation revealed Harper failed to properly negotiate the onramp curve as he transitioned from I-84 to I-82, ultimately leaving the roadway and rolling several times through the median.

Worker dies from Santa Fe hospital construction site accident

SANTA FE, N.M. — An investigation is underway after a fatal accident Thursday morning at the construction site for Presbyterian Healthcare Services’ new Santa Fe hospital. General contractor Jaynes Corporation’s President and COO Shad James confirmed the fatality but did not want to coment further on the details of the incident due to the investigation headed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He did not disclose the identity of the deceased “out of respect for the family.”

57-year-old dies at Battista Farms, OSHA has no inspection history at Battista Farms

San Carlos Park , FL — A 57-year-old man was killed while repairing a forklift at Battista Farms on Wednesday. Juan Mendez’s death at the business at 19490 S. Tamiami Trail in San Carlos Park was ruled a workplace accident. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor is investigating, said Michael D’Aquino, an OSHA spokesman. D’Aquino said the agency does not have an inspection history of Battista Farms. A woman who identified herself as Mendez’s wife at a Fort Myers home listed for Mendez declined to speak about the death.

Public Employees Weekly Toll

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