Weekly Toll

Last week: Workers electrocuted, died of heat exposure and crushed by bulldozer, under machinery, and beneath a collapsed bridge. Falls from grain silo and tree.  On average, almost 100 workers are killed every week in the United States due to traumatic injuries suffered at work. Over 20 times as many die from occupational diseases, many due to exposure to hazardous substances many years before they died, or from COVID-19 acquired 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.

Firefighter, Sheriff’s Office Employees Killed in NM Helicopter Crash

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — Four people have been killed in a crash of a Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office helicopter that was headed back to Albuquerque after assisting firefighters in another New Mexico city, authorities said Sunday. Sheriff’s officials said three people from the sheriff’s office and a county firefighter were aboard the helicopter when it went down near Las Vegas, New Mexico, about 123 miles (197 kilometers) northeast of Albuquerque. Killed in the crash were Undersheriff Larry Koren, Lt. Fred Beers, Deputy Michael Levison and county Fire and Rescue Department Specialist Matthew King, according to sheriff’s officials. The cause of the crash is unknown and will be investigated by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board. They said helicopter and its crew had been assisting with a wildfire in the Las Vegas area Saturday, providing bucket drops and other air logistics needs to fire crews on the ground.

One dead, two seriously injured in Newton County bridge collapse

COVINGTON, Ga. — One worker died and two others were seriously injured Tuesday night when the Access Road bridge collapsed as they worked to remove part of it for a replacement project. B&D Concrete Cutting Inc., subcontractors for Georgia Bridge and Concrete, were beginning sawing and demolition activities on the first of four bridge spans on the structure near I-20’s Exit 88 when the incident occurred about 5:30 p.m., said sheriff’s office spokesperson Caitlin Jett. The victim and two others fell into the Yellow River and were submerged, Jett said. They were rescued and received medical attention but one died and the other two were seriously injured, she said. Tucker-based Georgia Bridge and Concrete is building the $3.065 million project, and said it would need a 270-day — about nine months — closure to complete the new bridge, a GDOT spokesman said.

Investigation underway after death of NJ Longshoreman

NORTH BERGEN, N.J. (1010 WINS) — A 59-year-old New Jersey Longshoreman died Wednesday after the carrier he was operating toppled over, the Port Authority announced. The Elizabeth man, Uriel Matamoros, worked at the Port Newark Container Terminal where the accident occurred. While Matamoros was operating a Noell Straddle Carrier, the vehicle turned over in an event that is being investigated by the Port Authority and the International Longshoremen’s Association. “The ILA collectively weeps today as we mourn the passing of our Brother Uriel Matamoros,” said International Longshoremen’s Association President Harold J. Daggett.

CTA employee found dead on train tracks, police say

CHICAGO, IL — The body of a CTA employee was found unresponsive on the train tracks in the Loop, according to police. Police said the man’s body was found on the tracks on the 100 block of West Van Buren Street around 1:45 a.m. Saturday. He was pronounced dead at the scene. According to police, the initial investigation shows that man may have made contact with the third rail but the circumstances under which he ended up on the tracks, all still under investigation.

Chesterfield Township construction worker fatally struck by bulldozer

Chesterfield, MI — A construction worker in Chesterfield Township died Friday after a bulldozer struck him, police said. A man was standing outside his dump truck around 11 a.m. while a bulldozer moved pieces of concrete that had been broken up, Chesterfield Township police said. The 53-year-old dump truck driver, from Clinton Township, suffered traumatic injuries, police said. The bulldozer was operated by a 58-year-old Melvindale resident. He is cooperating with police.

Apopka firefighter Austin Duran dies after being injured on the job

APOPKA, Fla. — The Apopka community is mourning the loss of a firefighter who died after his family said he was injured while at work. The family of Austin Duran confirmed he died from his injuries on Friday. Duran’s family said the firefighter was severely injured while moving heavy equipment at the fire station on June 30.

Pissed Off Trucker, Alabama man known for trucking TikToks, dies after semi crash in Kansas

Colby, Kansas — An Alabama man known for talking about his life as a trucker on TikTok died Tuesday afternoon in northwest Kansas after a semi crash, according to a local outlet. According to KSNW, 52-year-old Steven Hull Raley of Alabaster crashed on I-70 about 16 miles from Colby, Kansas. The crash happened around 1:30 p.m., according to officials. Raley was driving a 2019 Volvo semi when it left the road. Once it did, the semi went through a fence, drove for a quarter of a mile before turning and coming back through the fence again. The semi then came to rest in a ditch after crossing the east and westbound lanes of the interstate. According to officials, Raley was taken to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Raley went by the username @pissed_off_trucker on TikTok, where he had close to 200,000 followers. He would often talk about life on the road as a trucker, as well as his family and current events.

Worker dies in Troy after getting pinned under wood chipper

Troy, MI — A worker died on Thursday after being pinned under a wood chipper in Troy, police confirmed Friday. The 45-year-old was taken to the hospital after the event happened around 11 a.m. Thursday morning near West Maple and Coolidge roads, according WDIV-TV. Reportedly, the machine fell off the jack onto the man while two men were working on the wood chipper.

Delivery driver shot and killed in Port St. Lucie, was once a doctor in Haiti

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.– Robert Peigne, the food delivery driver who was shot and killed in Port St. Lucie on Wednesday, was once a doctor in Haiti, WPTV reports. Paigne was using his wife’s door dash account to deliver food while waiting to receive his U.S. medical license. Before coming to America, Peigne worked for years to help bring access to healthcare for the citizens of South East Haiti, according to his long-time friend Louise Lindenmeyr. Lindenmeyr worked with Peigne with his efforts in Haiti and told WPTV, “He was truly a gem.” The extreme increase in violence in the country caused Peigni and Lindenmeyr to flee to the United States.

Florida truck driver killed in rollover crash on I-20 in Calhoun County

Oxford, AL — A truck driver was killed Thursday in a rollover crash on Interstate 20 in Calhoun County. Alabama State Troopers identified the victim as Quino Moise. He was 30 and lived in Fort Myers, FL. The crash happened at 2:26 p.m. on I-20, about five miles east of Oxford, said Senior Trooper Justin O’Neal. Moise was driving a 2016 Freightliner tractor-trailer that left the road, hitting a ditch and a tree before overturning. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Father of 7 dies by electrocution in roofing job site accident

LEBANON, Tenn. (WSMV/Gray News) – A Tennessee father of seven died by electrocution while working on a roof Monday. His grieving family is trying to come to terms with what happened. Enoc Hernandez leaves behind his wife, Ingrid Delcid, and seven children. Their daughter Jennifer Amaya said her mom’s heartbreak is so bad that she couldn’t breathe, and the kids had to take her to the hospital. “It’s hard, you know,” Amaya said through tears. “We still can’t process it.” Amaya said on Monday, her mom was on her way to bring her husband his lunch at a job site, something she did frequently. She was always there to bring him his own lunch and all the workers too. Like, all the workers adored her and everything like that,” Amaya said. Before Delcid arrived at the job site, she got a devastating phone call. She was told a ladder fell on a powerline. Enoc was electrocuted and died. Two other men were critically injured.

Train, semi crash in southwest Iowa leaves one person dead

POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY, Iowa (WOWT) – One person was killed Wednesday in a crash involving a semi-truck and a train in rural southwest Iowa, south of Walnut.  The train, traveling eastbound, collided with the semi-tractor-trailer and that it took some time for the train engine to stop. “It appears the train collided with the semi nearly ‘engine to cab’ on the semi,” Theulen said. The trailer filled with brewers yeast was severed by the train, carrying the burning cab and its driver about 100 feet down the tracks. The unidentified driver died there, as the surrounding brush caught fire. The body of the truck driver killed in the crash was badly burned and not immediately identifiable. Theulen said they expected identification and notification of family might allow for release of that information on Thursday. The railroad crossing where this occurred did not have barrier arms. The intersection was expected to remain closed for some time, especially since some of the train cars had derailed.

Man killed in work-related accident near Elkton

ELKTON, MD — A Cecil County man was killed on Wednesday morning when the bucket on a skid loader dropped on his head while he was making repairs to the piece of equipment near Elkton, according to the Maryland State Police. Investigators identified the victim as Kevin Cline, 38, of Elkton. Cline was pronounced dead at the accident scene on the business property of DW Reeves Welding and Crane Services in the 300 block of Marley Road, west of Elkton. The fatal accident occurred at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday when Cline was attempting to make repairs to a skid loader, also known as a skid steer, according to MSP Lt. Jeffrey Kirschner, commander of the agency’s North East Barrack. “The loader of the steer was in the raised position, perpendicular to the ground, held up by a metal block. Mr. Cline moved one of the hydraulic levers of the steer, causing the loader to tilt backwards, which caused the block holding it up to fall out,” Kirschner outlined. At that point, the loader – also known as a bucket – fell straight down on Cline’s head and pinned him to the ground, Kirschner reported. “His coworkers got a crane and lifted the loader off of him,” Kirschner said, adding that employees also called 911.

Worker dies while trimming trees in Opelousas

Opelousas, LA — A worker has died in an accident, Opelousas Police say. Police identified the man as Kevin Thomas, 50, owner of the company, Busy Bird Tree Service, which was contracted to the city to trim some trees. He was trimming trees near the baseball fields in South City Park at about 8 a.m. this morning when he fell, police say. The Opelousas Fire Department were first on the scene. “One of my captains heard someone screaming for help on the baseball field”, says Fire Chief Charles Mason. The fire department aided Thomas until EMS arrived, transporting him to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead. “Unfortunately, his fall resulted in fatal injury”, says Mayor Julius Alsandor.

Killed in fall from grain tank

Farmington, MO — John Coffel, 49, local carpenter and concrete man, was instantly killed about 10:30 Monday morning when he fell from a scaffold at the top of a 40-foot grain tank at the Giessing Milling Company. His body fell headfirst to the concrete floor of the tank and death was due to a broken neck. Mr. Coffel was in the employ of Walter Brockmiller, local contractor. He was helping construct four 40-foot grain tanks at the mill. The tanks were nearing completion and Monday morning Coffel and Fred Cleve were building a scaffold near the top of the northwest tank, so that they could start the roof. Mr. Cleve was the only one to see Coffel fall and it was his idea that the board of the scaffold on which he was standing slipped just as he leaned forward, throwing his body downward for some 40 feet. The body first struck a two-by-ten-inch board, breaking it in two, then crashed into the slanting concrete floor. He was dead by the time workmen were able to reach him.

Truck driver killed in collision with train in Oklahoma

Grady County, OK — A truck driver lost his life in Grady County, Oklahoma, on Monday afternoon after his vehicle was struck by a train. The incident occurred around 4:30 p.m. on July 11 north of Chickasha, Oklahoma. Authorities say that 45 year old Troy R. Zielinski was driving a gravel truck westbound on County Road 1300 when his truck was struck on the passenger side of the cab by a train.

Kern County firefighter dies weeks after head-on crash

Kern County, CA — A Kern County firefighter died Monday, nearly two weeks after he was injured in a crash while driving to work at the Keene Helibase, according to the department. Aiden Agnor, 18, suffered critical injuries in the June 28 crash. He worked as a seasonal firefighter, officials said. “Aiden was loved and respected by all who knew him and has forever impacted this department and our community for the better,” said Fire Chief Aaron Duncan. The department announced all Kern County Fire Department flags will be flown at half-staff until Agnor is laid to rest. Agnor was a resident of the Antelope Valley and just this year graduated from Quartz Hill High School.

Shootings at SoCal 7-Elevens Leave Clerk Dead, Others Injured

Brea, CA — An employee was killed in a shooting at a Brea 7-Eleven early Monday morning, and authorities believe the incident may be related to another that took place in La Habra the same day. Around 4:18 a.m. Monday, police arrived at the 7-Eleven convenience store on Lambert Road and North Brea Boulevard, after receiving a call about an employee that may have been struck by gunfire. When the officers arrived to the store, they found a male store clerk with a gunshot wound, injured as the result of a robbery turned deadly. That clerk, who has not yet been identified by police, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Construction worker dies after struck by vehicle on Marvyn Pkwy in Opelika

OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) – One construction worker is dead and another injured following a vehicle hitting them on Marvyn Parkway in Opelika. The incident happened in a construction zone near Gateway Drive a little after 3:30 p.m. on July 11. One victim, a 45-year-old male, was transported via helicopter, and the other 63-year-old male victim was transported via ambulance to Columbus Regional Hospital in Columbus. According to authorities, the 63-year-old victim, unfortunately, succumbed to his injuries and passed away.
This case remains under investigation by the Opelika Police Department.

52-year-old crushed by semi-truck after foot is caught beneath wheel, Georgia cops say

Gainesvill, GA — A 52-year-old man was killed when his foot became trapped under the wheel of a semi-truck and it ran him over, Georgia police said. The man, who was identified as Thi Ngoc Hoang, was working with other employees to push a semi-truck out of a bay at Cottrell, Inc., a car-hauling company in Gainesville, just before 10:30 a.m. on July 8, according to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office. Gainesville is about 55 miles northeast of Atlanta. Hoang’s foot became trapped under a wheel, and he couldn’t get himself free, the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “As a result, he was run over by the truck and crushed,” the statement says. Hoang was dead when deputies arrived.

Tractor-trailer driver killed in crash on Highway 5 identified

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — The tractor-trailer driver who died in a crash at the intersection of Highway 5 and Interstate 35 on Monday night has been identified. Twenty-five-year-old Kyle Stewart, of Des Moines, died at the scene, according to police. The crash was reported at about 6:51 p.m. Police believe Stewart was traveling northbound on Highway 5 when the vehicle left the roadway. It came to rest in the gore area of Highway 5, northbound to Interstate 35 Northbound.

USPS family honors fallen colleague

Rice Lake, WI — Sixteen members of the United States Postal Service in Rice Lake congregated Monday to walk or drive mail trucks to the visitation of a carrier who died on the job on July 3. The mail truck driver Tamitha “Tami” Langland, 43, was driving and hit a bridge near the intersection of 18½ Avenue and 25½ Street, according to the police log. Although Langland had only worked as a postal carrier for five months, her colleagues wanted to express their condolences to the family as a group. They met at the post office on Eau Claire Street and walked or drove across Main Street to Appleyard’s Home for Funerals as rain threatened to fall.

Archaeological worker dies suddenly while in Kisatchie National Forest

NATCHITOCHES PARISH, La. (KSLA) – A 24-year-old archaeological worker with the Shreveport Cultural Resource Analysts died suddenly from a medical event Monday, July 11, the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office says. It happened in the Kisatchie National Forest-Kisatchie District within the parish. Around 2:15 p.m., multiple law enforcement agents responded to reports that a female hiker was possible suffering from heat exhaustion or a stroke on Forest Service Road #321 Bayou Camp Road off Longleaf Vista in the forest. While first responders were trying to get to the location, two coworkers were performing CPR on the woman until help could arrive. Medical personnel arrived on scene and continued CPR for a time, but determined the woman had died. The Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office was notified, and the woman was identified as Kaylen Gehrke, 24, formerly of Missoula, Mont. She had recently moved to Longview, Texas with her parents. Officials believe her death may be heat-related. Deputies report that it was Gehrke’s first day on the job; she and her two coworkers were conducting an archaeological survey of Kisatchie National Forest for the U.S. Forest Service when she fell ill. NWS Shreveport says at 2:15 p.m. Monday, it was 98° outside in Natchitoches, with a heat index of more than 107°.

Woman killed in Groveport workplace shooting; suspect dead from possible electrocution near facility

GROVEPORT, Ohio — The Groveport Police Department is continuing to investigate a deadly domestic situation where two people died at a warehouse Monday morning. Just before 5:30 a.m., officers from Groveport and other agencies were dispatched to SK Food Group located on Toy Road on report of an active shooter. Upon arrival, officers learned that the incident involved a woman and a man who were both temporary employees at the facility. Police say the man approached the victim in the locker area of the business and shot her multiple times before fleeing the building. The woman was taken to Grant Medical Center in critical condition and was later pronounced dead.

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