This week: Trench collapse, falling trees, traffic incidents, building collapses, shootings, falls. On average, almost 100 workers are killed every week in the United States due to traumatic injuries suffered at work. Ten times as many die from occupational diseases, many due to exposure to hazardous substances many years before they died, or from COVID-19 acquire at work. The few narratives below (gathered from almost 100 Google News searches) do not come close to capturing the full toll that work takes on the working people of this country — even in normal years, much less during the COVID pandemic. Nevertheless the accounts below gave you a taste of the preventable carnage occurring in workplaces across the country every day.
Investigation Continues After Garbage Collector Killed on the Job
Grapevine, TX — The daughters of a North Texas garbage collector killed on the job this week, are demanding answers and transparency. NBC 5’s Maria Guerrero reports Grapevine Police and the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office are still investigating Cecilio Pule’s death after he was pinned by his own truck. The 56-year-old Haltom City resident died after being pinned by his garbage truck. Johanna and Alejandra Pule say their family has not received many details about what led to the fatal incident.
Worker hit by crane bucket dies at Tallyrand dock
Jacksonville, FL — A man is dead following an industrial accident at a shipping dock in Tallyrand before 1 p.m. Sunday, according to Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Sgt. Chris Stevens said the man was hit in the upper body by a large crane bucket that was lowering a load of concrete material onto a vessel docked near the Jacksonville Port Authority on Wigmore Street and Talleyrand Avenue.
Plumbing Worker Dies in Trench Collapse in Grain Valley
GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. (AP) — A plumbing worker has died after a trench collapsed in western Missouri. KMBC-TV reports that the accident happened Wednesday in Grain Valley, about 23 miles east of Kansas City. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said crews with Preferred Plumbing Inc. of Kingsville were installing plumbing lines for homes under construction when the 10-foot-deep trench gave way. Authorities identified the victim as 47-year old Jeremiah Joseph Brown.
Man Killed by Falling Tree
Yorktown, NY — A man was killed by a falling tree at a Yorktown residence on Tuesday, Dec. 14, according to the Yorktown Police Department, which is investigating the incident. The unidentified 61-year-old man was working in the back yard of a house on Farm Walk Road around 9 a.m. when he was struck by the falling tree. He was unconscious and not breathing when first responders arrived. He was transported by the Yorktown Volunteer Ambulance Corps to New York Presbyterian-Hudson Valley Hospital, where he died as a result of his injuries. Detectives from the Yorktown Police Department are investigating the incident with the assistance of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Kentucky man charged with killing Illinois officer in multistate crime spree
CARLYLE, ILL.– Law enforcement officers salute as fallen Wayne County Illinois sheriff’s deputy Sean Riley is placed in a vehicle at the Vanderburgh County Coroner in Evansville, Ind., Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 29, 2021. He was transported to the Vanderburgh County Coroner after he was reportedly shot and Wkilled in the line of duty and found along Interstate 64 according to police. Riley was being transported back to Illinois. A Wayne County, Illinois, sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed in the line of duty and found along Interstate 64 on Wednesday, police said.
Downed plane was medical jet; two nurses, two pilots died
EAST COUNTY, CA — The names of four people killed when a medical transport jet crashed outside El Cajon earlier this week became public Wednesday, identified by a mix of authorities, friends and professional organizations. The Medical Examiner’s Office identified two of the victims as Douglas James Grande, 42, and Julian Jorge Bugaj, 67. Both men were licensed pilots. Friends and colleagues said nurses Tina Ward and Laurie Gentz were passengers on the plane. The four were on a Learjet 35 business jet that crashed and exploded Monday evening on a residential street about 1.5 miles from Gillespie Field as it approached the airport, killing everyone on board.
Officer killed, police searching for ‘armed and dangerous’ man
BRADLEY, IL — A longtime Bradley police officer is dead and another is seriously wounded after responding to a call late Wednesday at Comfort Inn on Illinois 50 in Bradley. Kankakee County Coroner Bob Gessner said Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic, 49, of Kankakee, was shot and killed. The other officer’s name is not being released at this time by officials.
Chicago firefighter dies days after being critically injured in Belmont Central fire
Chicago, IL — A Chicago firefighter critically injured in an apartment fire in Belmont Central last week has died. Mashawn Plummer, who had been a firefighter for just a year, died at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Chicago Fire Department Larry Merritt said Tuesday afternoon. “We ask that everyone keep the family in their prayers.” Merritt sad. “Its tough to lose a loved one under any circumstances, especially hard during the holiday season which should be a time of celebration.” Plummer had just celebrated his one-year anniversary with the department when he was injured while battling a blaze at a two-story building just after 2 a.m. Dec. 16 in the 3100 block of North Marmora Avenue, officials said.
‘You can rest easy now’: CMPD officer killed in I-85 crash laid to rest
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte community said a final goodbye Wednesday to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer who was killed while responding to a crash on Interstate 85. Officer Mia Goodwin died Dec. 22, just days after returning from maternity leave and days before Christmas. Police said a semi-truck with a trailer collided with another semi (cab only) heading southbound, and that collision then caused them to crash into CMPD units who were working another accident scene. Goodwin, 33, was killed.
6 killed, including gunman, in Denver area shootings
DENVER, CO — A man accused of killing five people in a rampage in Denver is believed to have written fictional books self-published online that named some of his real-life victims and described similar attacks. Alicia Cardenas, a 44-year-old tattoo artist, was among his first victims in Monday’s rampage. She was killed at her tattoo shop. Matt Clark, commander of the Denver Police Department’s Major Crimes Division, said McLeod knew most of the people he targeted but not the last person he shot — a clerk in a hotel in Lakewood’s Belmar shopping area. However, McLeod had had some dealings with the hotel, Clark said. The hotel clerk, 28-year-old Sarah Steck, died of her injuries Tuesday.
Amazon employee died on the job after being rejected sick leave, state, co-workers
Bessemer, AL — According to their colleagues, two Amazon employees died at the company’s facility in Bessemer, Alabama. Following the denial of a sick leave application by one of the deceased employees, the employee suffered from a stroke and subsequently died ‘on the job,’ according to reports. In addition, one of the employees said that the firm instructed them to continue working despite the man’s death. In an interview with the workers’ rights organization “More Perfect Union,” the co-workers described how their co-workers died within hours of each other on November 28 and 29, with one passing away at their workplace and the other passing away while being transferred from work in an ambulance.
Construction worker dies days after being hit by swinging telephone pole
Dover Township, PA — A 54-year-old construction worker was fatally injured last week while trying to replace a telephone pole in York County, authorities said. Sean Blackmon was contracted Dec. 21 with Benfer Construction to replace a pole at West Canal Road and Intermediate Avenue in Dover Township, according to the York County Coroner’s Office. Blackmon walked into the path of a swinging pole around 5 p.m. and was hit in the right side, the coroner’s office said. The force of the blow knocked him to the ground, and he was soon rushed to WellSpan York Hospital. Blackmon was pronounced dead Monday, six days after he was injured, authorities said.
‘HERO’ TOW TRUCK DRIVER KILLED BY FALLING TREE
Willow Creek, CA — As snow fell late on the day after Christmas, a Willow Creek man, 30-year-old Kevin Carlos Rodriguez, like many tow truck drivers was working hard pulling stuck travelers from ditches and out of icy roadways. Sadly, a tree fell striking and killing him. A resident of the area brought his death to our attention calling Rodriguez’ death. “The community will miss him,” she told us. “[H]e is a hero.” Samantha Karges, spokesperson for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, told us that at 11:05 p.m. on December 26, her department received information that an employee of a towing company had been struck by a tree in the area of the 3000 block of State Highway 96. She said that Rodriguez was “reportedly helping pull stuck vehicles out of the snow in the area when he was fatally struck by a falling tree.”
TimkenSteel employee dies following accident at company’s Gambrinus finishing facility
PERRY TWP. OH – An employee died Monday morning in a workplace accident at TimkenSteel’s Gambrinus finishing plant, according to the company. Douglas Gauze, 65, of Canton, was operating a machine at the plant when the accident occurred sometime before 10 a.m. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating, as well as the company and Steelworkers Local 1123.
Indian Harbour Beach officer killed in Brevard County crash
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – An Indian Harbour Beach officer riding a motorcycle was killed in a crash when she struck a concrete barrier wall in Brevard County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Troopers said 24-year-old Madison Merritt, of Melbourne, was traveling west on Pineda Causeway near Patrick Drive around 2:40 a.m. Monday and hit a concrete wall for an unknown reason. The FHP said Merritt was pronounced dead on the scene.
Driver slams into security shack, kills guard on duty
GRIFFIN, Ga. — A driver is facing charges after drunkenly driving through a security guard shack, killing the person inside, troopers said. Georgia State Patrol said the driver was under the influence of alcohol Monday at 2:45 a.m. while driving on Sun City Parkway in Griffin at Jordon Hill Road. Law enforcement were called to the area for a deadly hit-and-run crash. Troopers said a 2013 Chevrolet Camaro left the roadway and plowed through an occupied guard shack. There was a person inside, according to GSP. Authorities added that the guard on duty died at the scene. Troopers later learned the driver involved was intoxicated, a news release reads.
2nd Deadly Upper East Side Crash Spurs Calls For Reform
UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — For the second time this month, dozens gathered Sunday to mourn after a crash on an Upper East Side street claimed the lives of two more immigrant workers. A Sunday evening vigil at the corner of Third Avenue and East 61st Street paid tribute to Taurino Rosendo Morales and Delfino Eduardo Maceda, who were killed on Christmas Eve when the driver of a parked Baldor box truck suddenly accelerated forward. The driver hit Morales, a 37-year-old delivery cyclist, in the street, before jumping the curb and striking Maceda, a 46-year-old construction worker who was standing on the sidewalk. Friday’s crash came just 10 days after another crash on First Avenue and East 76th Street took the life of Salvador “Chavita” Navarrete-Flores, a fellow delivery worker who, like Maceda and Morales, also hailed from Mexico.
Contractor dies in fall at Caterpillar foundry in Peoria
MAPLETON, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a contractor working at a Caterpillar Inc. foundry in central Illinois fell to his death when he apparently stepped off a ladder at the plant. The Peoria County coroner says 50-year-old Scott M. Adams of East Peoria was pronounced dead about 11 a.m. Thursday after his fall at the foundry in Mapleton. The Journal Star reports that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says Adams was working as a contractor at the foundry from Shaefer Electric in Peoria. The agency says its preliminary investigation leads it to believe Adams stepped off a ladder before falling 20 feet to his death through a hole in the floor.
Police release name of worker killed in Clearwater parking garage collapse
CLEARWATER, FL — Police on Wednesday identified the 23-year-old worker who was killed when a stairwell in a parking garage partially collapsed. Mitchel Thomas Klock, a Brandon resident and owner of M Klock Welding, was killed on Monday when the stairwell collapsed on him while he was making repairs, Clearwater police Chief Dan Slaughter said at a news conference at the scene. Klock’s body was recovered about 6:30 a.m. after crews working through the night demolished the stairwell of the garage on a commercial property at 26750 U.S. 19. Crews worked their way from the top of the structure down to where Klock’s body was trapped. As Slaughter spoke to reporters, a pile of rubble about two stories high sat where the stairwell once stood. The Tampa Bay Times reported Tuesday that city records revealed that repairs on the stairwell began before an application for the work was submitted and months after the city of Clearwater determined the garage was potentially unsafe, requiring inspection by a structural engineer. The building’s owner, Plymouth Plaza LLC, did not submit the required engineering report before the repairs began, records show.
Baltimore officer dies a week after shot in ambush
BALTIMORE, MD — A Baltimore police officer who was shot during an ambush last week died Thursday after being removed from life support, authorities said. Keona Holley, 39, a mother of four who joined the police department two years ago, was shot in the head while working an overtime shift early in the morning of Dec. 16, The Sun of Baltimore reported. Holley, who was sitting in her patrol car when she was shot, had been on life support at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, the newspaper reported.
One killed in crash near Lycoming Mall
Williamsport, PA — The operator of this FedEx truck was killed late Tuesday afternoon when the vehicle crashed into the back of tractor-trailer truck that was parked along the berm, state police said. The driver of the tractor-trailer had pulled off to make a call on his cellphone, investigators said. The driver of a FedEx home delivery truck was killed, and his passenger, his step-son, was injured when the vehicle slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer truck that was parked along the berm of the Lycoming Mall Road exit ramp of Interstate 180 West in Muncy Township about 4 p.m. Tuesday, state police said. It was a mystery Tuesday night as to why the delivery van veered off the lane and into the back of the tractor trailer, whose driver had stopped and pulled over to make a cellphone call concerning his next assignment, Ross said. Ross noted that neither the driver of the delivery truck nor his son were employees of FedEx, but were employed by a sub-contracting firm that is used by the delivery service.
Peru man killed by falling tree branch at worksite
CASS COUNTY, IN — A Peru man died Thursday while on the job, according to the Cass County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies say Jason Johnston of Peru was cutting and dragging logs with a coworker for the Conner Saw Mill when he was struck by a fallen tree branch. The incident happened in the 6000 block of County Road 1100 South around 11 a.m. Johnston was pronounced dead at the scene.
9th Candle Factory Worker Dies;
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A worker injured in the destruction of a Kentucky candle factory hit by a tornado has died, raising the total killed in the facility to nine. The worker was hospitalized and recently succumbed to their injuries, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday.
Worker Dies After Part of Tree Falls on Him Near Milton
MILTON, Del.- A man working for a tree company died after part of a tree fell on him near Milton on Monday afternoon, Delaware State Police said. Troopers said that shortly before 2 p.m. they were called to Huff Road for a report of an industrial accident. Police said the investigation found that the 59-year-old Laurel man was cutting a tree that was laying on the ground when his chainsaw got stuck. Another employee used an excavator to lift the tree so the man could free his chainsaw. Once it was free, the man turned to walk away. That is when the tree snapped and part of the tree struck the man in the torso, according to police. The man was taken to Beebe Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Truck driver killed in head-on crash on Interstate 90
SUPERIOR, MT — A semi-truck driver died in a head-on crash Tuesday morning on Interstate 90 near Superior. The Montana Highway Patrol reports a semi-truck driven by a 26-year-old Minneapolis, MN man was traveling westbound on I-90 when he lost traction and skidded into the median, causing it to jackknife and slide into the eastbound lane. A semi-truck driven by a 67-year-old Woodland, WA man was traveling eastbound when the westbound truck struck him. The struck vehicle continued into the embankment onto the southside of the Interstate. The driver from Minneapolis and his passenger, a 41-year-old man also of Minneapolis, were transported to Mineral Community Hospital with injuries. The Washington man died of his injuries on the scene.